The Conference Board uses cookies to improve our website, enhance your experience, and deliver relevant messages and offers about our products. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this site is provided in our cookie policy. For more information on how The Conference Board collects and uses personal data, please visit our privacy policy. By continuing to use this Site or by clicking "OK", you consent to the use of cookies. 

A Wealth of Opportunity

November 2016 | The Demand Institute

Over the past several decades, China has brought hundreds of millions of citizens out of poverty and created a thriving consumer class that has made it the second-largest consumer market in the world in aggregate terms. But, on a per-capita basis, consumption is a fraction of the level in mature economies.

A Wealth of Opportunity: Chinese Consumers and Their Shifting Demand for Financial Services finds vast untapped demand among Chinese consumers for household financial services products such as deposit accounts, credit cards, and debit cards. It identifies two scenarios for how growth in Chinese financial services could accelerate consumption. Under the most likely scenario, expanded access will add $650 billion to Chinese consumption over the next decade, but it could be as much as $950 billion.

In this report, we describe the forces that drive demand for financial services in China and how those forces will change in the next ten years, producing the added consumption we estimate is possible.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Compared to the United States, household financial services penetration in China lags far behind the level expected based on relative levels of affluence and urbanization.
  • Household wealth in China is highly concentrated among urban consumers who have financial accounts (i.e., credit, savings, checking, etc.). Within that group, the top 10 percent hold nearly two-thirds of assets.
  • The rise in demand for financial services will vary across consumer groups depending on geography (rural vs. urban), level of wealth, and age cohort.
  • Rural, less affluent consumers will drive the growth of entry-level financial services such as deposit and savings accounts.
  • Urban, affluent consumers will drive growth of more complex financial products, but adoption will depend on age.



Louise Keely

Executive Vice President


Brian Anderson

Associate Program Director
The Demand Institute



China Consumption Story: Year End 2019


A Wealth of Opportunity

November 03, 2016 | THE DEMAND INSTITUTE

China's Connected Spenders & Car Demand

September 14, 2016 | BOOK

Our Experts


Andrew Polk

Program Director of China Government Affairs Council


Ethan Cramer-Flood

Senior Fellow, China Center for Economics and Business



Sustainability Watch

Sustainability Watch

December 19, 2019

Support Our Work

Support our nonpartisan, nonprofit research and insights that help leaders address societal challenges.