Là où on s’attend à voir le crédit…

Autrefois, lorsque la planification centralisée communiste asphyxiait l’économie de la Chine, les investissements en actifs immobilisés permettaient au régime de mesurer les progrès. Plus on produisait de tonnes d’acier, plus on coulait de dalles de béton et plus on extrayait de pétrole brut du sol, mieux c’était. L’économie axée sur la consommation, à laquelle l’Occident capitaliste avait semble-t-il déjà succombé, était bannie, telle un tigre de papier.

En surface, rien n’a vraiment changé. La Chine est toujours obsédée par l’investissement – la construction d’usines et d’infrastructures représentaient, en 2005, 41 % du PIB et environ la moitié de la croissance économique. Il semble en outre logique que le fort taux d’investissement en actifs immobilisés reste constant, puisque la construction de routes, de canalisations d’eau, d’infrastructures pour les transports en commun, de réseaux de télécommunication et d’usines électroniques est exactement ce à quoi un si vaste pays doit s’employer.

Le parti communiste a pourtant décidé que, dans les dix années à venir, les coiffeurs, comptables, hôtesses de karaokés, guides touristiques et réalisateurs de films seraient les nouveaux piliers des prouesses économiques. A mesure que la croissance des investissements ralentit et que les marchés à l’exportation subissent leurs cycles économiques imprévisibles et autres humeurs protectionnistes, la Chine compte de plus en plus sur la consommation pour créer des emplois et assurer les revenus - en l’occurrence, c’est dans le service tertiaire que la consommation est la plus présente.

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