China's middle class population has exceeded 200 million, a number that far exceeds an estimate by a Credit Suisse report, an economic expert wrote on the Shanghai-based China Business News on Tuesday.
Last month, Credit Suisse said in its Global Wealth Report 2015 that with 109 million adults this year, the Chinese middle class has for the first time outnumbered the United States, becoming the largest in the world.
It defined a middle class adult as possessing wealth between $50,000 and $500,000.
Gan Li, a professor at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics and Texas A&M University, said the total population of China's middle class stands at 204 million, and that their wealth, at $28.3 trillion, is quadruple that estimated by Credit Suisse in its annual report.
China tops the world in both areas above, he added.
Gan questioned the reliability of the data in the Credit Suisse report. He said the report only used a China Academy of Social Science Survey in 2000, and estimated data for the following years. He employed data from the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance at his university.
But Gan admitted that the average wealth of a middle class adult in China is far less than in the U.S.
Furthermore, only one percent of the population in China is above middle class, while 78.9 percent don't reach the middle class standard, forming a pyramid in personal wealth, according to Gan.
Moreover, China's middle class has invested as much as 75 percent of its wealth in property, he added. According to Credit Suisse's report, China's total household wealth stood at $22.8 trillion by the middle of this year, growing by $1.5 trillion from a year ago. That beat Japan's $19.8 trillion and puts China second only to the U.S. at $85.9 trillion.