million) is estimated to be 825,000, according to Hurun Report. Based on the Hurun rich list, the number of US dollar billionaires in China doubled from 130 in 2009 to 271 in 2010, giving China the world's second-highest number of billionaires. China's retail market was worth RMB 8.9 trillion (US$1.302 trillion) in 2007, and is growing at 16.8% annually. China is also now the world's second-largest consumer of luxury goods behind Japan, with 27.5% of the global share.
In recent years, China's rapid economic growth has contributed to severe consumer inflation, causing the prices of basic goods to rise steeply. Food prices in China increased by over 21% in the first four months of 2008 alone. To curb inflation and moderate rising property prices, the Chinese government has instituted a number of fiscal regulations and amendments, raising interest rates and imposing limits on bank loans. In September 2011, consumer prices rose by 6.1% compared to a year earlier, marking a reduction in inflation from the peak of 6.5% in July 2011. A side-effect of increased economic regulation was a slowdown in overall growth – China's quarterly GDP growth fell to 9.1% in October 2011, down from 9.5% in the previous quarter, and sank to 8.1% in April 2012. In July 2012, amid a manufacturing slowdown and increasing turmoil in global markets, China's quarterly GDP growth rate fell to 7.6%.
The Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient—on average, industrial processes in China between 20% and 100% more energy than similar ones in OECD countries. China became the world's largest energy consumer in 2010, but still relies on coal to supply about 70% of its energy needs. Coupled with lax environmental regulations, this has led to massive water and air pollution, leaving China with 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities. Consequently, the government has promised to use more renewable energy, planning to make renewables constitute 30% of China's total