Mandarin Vocabulary: “消费降级” Consumption Downgrade

Today’s Mandarin language point is 消费降级.

消费 (xiāofèi – to consume) + 降级 (jiàngjí – to downgrade) = 消费降级 (xiāofèi jiàngjí – consumption downgrade). 

From a cultural perspective, the phrase 消费降级 symbolizes the current idea business/economic climate in China; i.e. the cooling off of the Chinese economy.

As of writing today, the Shanghai Composite Index and Shenzhen Composite Index have lost around one quarter of their value since January of this year (2018). Furthermore there has also been a lot of coverage in the media about the China-US Trade War and its potential negative impact on both economies.

The combination of turbulent markets at home and an economic face-off with the US have everyday Chinese worried. Many believe that we are on the path to a recession in China.

Should this be true, 消费降级 refers to how modern Chinese will react to such economic conditions: both seriously and humorously. One author has implored readers to stop going to night clubs. Another joked about selling all of your furniture.

These verbs in the phrase are useful for students of business and economics. 消费 is regularly combined with the character to create the noun 消费者 (xiāofèi zhě – consumer), and its a word that you will often see in Mandarin language news and business documents.

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