Is China a developed country?

No.

Online you might find many Chinese brag about this:

and this

Then they exclaim, that there’s more skyscrapers and high speed trains etc in China than America so they are developed.

This is not the right definition of ‘developed’

You don’t measure a city or country by outer appearance alone. The thing is we have to take a look at the innards of a country to really know whether or not you are truly developed. That Chinese are so obsessed with portraying the facade that they are technologically advanced and ahead is actually an indication that they have not fully developed yet. Because fully developed countries have no need to show off things like that. Everyone knows they are developed.

For example, here is San Francisco:

Look, not many skyscrapers right? And look at those old cable cars going around! That must mean they are undeveloped right? Nope. Everyone knows San Francisco is a developed city. That’s why it has no need to show off with luxury skyscrapers and such things.

Or how about Florence, Italy?

Again, no skyscrapers here. But everyone knows its a developed city and Italy is a developed country.

My point is, you gotta look at the people and the innards of a country to truly know if they are developed.

This is the true face of China:

Half its population still lives in the rural countryside on $2 a day (edit: this is exaggerated, it used to be half the population, its definitely gotten better but its still not a trivial amount of people). You won’t find any such poverty in the USA or Europe.


You gotta look at the average person. Does the average Chinese have good access to healthcare? Can they drink tap water safely? Do they have access to quality food? Do all have access to electricity or paved roads or a quality education? The answer is: probably yes if you are living in the rich east coast provinces of Jiangsu or Zhejiang or Guangdong- but not if you are living in say – Xinjiang or Gansu or Tibet. China’s wealth is not spread equally neither is it developed equally. Even though the CCP has developed China quite fast – there is still a lot of work to be done making sure *every Chinese* have equal access to everything.

And then you got to look at the attitude of the people. When I was in China I found that you really got to look out for who you trust, because there is a lot of scams going on all the time. You never know what is real, what is fake, what is real price of anything. Why do these scams exist? because people have to be desperate to make money that’s why. Why are people desperate to make money? probably because they are not making enough to survive, which is an indication that the country is still developing. You’ll notice that in general, the more developed a country is, the less likely there will be scams. In Korea/Japan/Taiwan, you will not find very many scams. In China and Eastern Europe its likely. The prevalence of scams is an indication of how well off the country is. Seems strange I know, but trust me on this, there is a reason why its called a Nigerian Prince scam, and not an Italian Prince scam. Poorer countries have more desperate people and more desperate people do things like scamming.

I find GDP/capita to be generally a pretty good indicator of how developed a country is. The average GDP/capita of China is still around $8k/person. While that is the average of the world – that is still ‘developing’ level. Not quite the $50k/person that the USA has. Thus I consider China still a developing country. No amount of skyscrapers or high speed rails or smartphones or tech innovation can truly indicate how developed a country is. I mean by that standard you could also consider Dubai to be more developed than London – which we know is not true. Nor can you use violent crime or drug statistics to indicate how developed a country is – by that measure India with less gun violence would be considered more developed than the USA is.

The true measure of a developed society is to observe the people that live in the country and not the appearance of the country itself.
Chinese “face” culture is the same. You can just obviously see that China has developed really really fast, and mentality wise people are still harping about luxury products and consumerism – this is where Americans were back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, not now. The biggest consumers of luxury products are Chinese people, not Americans or Europeans. The more developed you are the less need you have to validate your self worth with materialism. The less desire you have to spend thousands of dollars on your children’s schooling just to send them to be educated abroad. The less need to travel to countries like Canada or USA for giving birth so that your child becomes a US or Canadian citizen, or to launder your money by buying up real estate in other countries. Developed countries do not need to do things like that.