The 'Myth' of Urbanization as a Driver of Economic Growth in China

Many Chinese suppliers and their U.S. purchasers such as Apple Inc. have come under attack recently for abusing workers. Bloomberg News had on Asia Society Associate Fellow Alexandra Harney to discuss how the country's labor reform efforts are not only focused on worker's rights, but could have the knock-on effect of boosting domestic consumption by allowing migrant workers establish urban residency.

Harney, who wrote The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage, said China released a framework in February to reform outdated residency laws that denies migrant workers access to certain rights and benefits, and even hinders domestic consumption.

"We think of urbanization as a big driver of economic growth in China, in fact part of that is a myth," Harney said. "All these migrants moving to the cities don't stay for very long, they have to go back to their hometowns to send their kids to school."

About the Author

Profile picture for user Alex Ortolani
Alex Ortolani is Asia Society’s Senior Media and Content Officer.