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White-Collar Migrants in Coastal Chinese Cities

Article of  Gilles Guiheux and Pierre-Paul Zalio, «White-Collar Migrants in Coastal Chinese Cities», in  «Rural Migrants. On the Fringe of the City, a Bridge to the Countryside», China Perspectives.

The tremendous speed of urbanisation in China over the last 20 years has occurred simultaneously with a structural change in urban labour markets. In most cities, manufacturing has declined while service industries have rapidly developed. In the case of Shanghai, the service industry already accounts for more than half the city’s total GDP. Today, the city government aims at building future prosperity on finance, trade, and shipping. The service sector will be at the core of Shanghai’s industrial structure, making the Chinese metropolis a truly global city.
Migrants coming to the metropolis are not only farmers from rural areas but also urban youth coming from second- or thirdtier cities. This study deals with moderately skilled young service workers born and educated in provinces around Shanghai who come to the most cosmopolitan and prosperous Chinese metropolis in search of a better future. Employed in service industries, they are different from the unskilled migrants working on construction sites and in other labour-intensive industries, though they likewise take rather low-paid jobs that locals look down on. They are also different from the highly skilled young Chinese (the haigui) who come back from abroad after graduating from a foreign university and working abroad, especially in the IT sector, even though they share their belief that Shanghai is the best place to be at present, where they can make their dreams come true, and where careers offer the best opportunities for success.

Accès au texte intégral de l’article sur Revues.org

Gilles Guiheux and Pierre-Paul Zalio, « White-Collar Migrants in Coastal Chinese Cities », China perpectives [Online], 2010/4 | 2010, Online since 15 December 2010, connection on 13 February 2011. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/5339

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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