China needs to get its people to spend—and that’s a lot harder than it sounds

There’s one really big problem with China’s 1.3 billion customers: They don’t spend enough. Even as China’s economy has soared, the share of output coming from consumption has nosedived. Over the last decade or so, that’s sapped many trillions of dollars from the global economy.

It has also left China in a pickle. Its low consumption rate is thanks largely to the government’s growth model, which forces up household savings in order to finance rapid industrialization. That...

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