In my global travels over the past several years, I have been very fortunate to have witnessed China during its economic transformation. During earlier visits, the country was a rural land with more bicycles than cars. Around that time, less than 30 percent of the country’s population lived in an urban area.
When I visited places such as Shanghai and Beijing this fall, China’s development and escalating use of global resources was evident, as was the fact that the country’s population has become more urban than rural, which has been reported by Bloomberg.
In our 2012 Outlook Webcast, we talked about two charts from BCA Research’s December report when the firm discovered this “historic moment.” BCA compares China’s urbanization process to South Korea’s. In the 1960s, the urbanization rate in South Korea grew from around 30 percent to a mature 80 percent rate by 2000.
If China follows this path, another 30 percent of the population is expected to move to the cities by the year 2030… less than 20 years from now, says BCA. This movement means there will be more than a half-billion city dwellers in the next 20 years or about 200 million new urban households.
I believe this urbanization trend just hit the pivotal moment that dramatically shifts certain buying patterns into a higher gear, driving an enormous demand for housing, consumer staples and durable goods.
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The following securities mentioned were held by one or more of U.S. Global Investors Fund as of 12/31/11: Apple, BHP Billiton, Caterpillar.