Jun 02, 2020 07:35 PM

Caixin New Economy Index Slips as Key Inputs Fall Across the Board

Workers prepare high-efficiency solar panels for export at a factory in East China’s Jiangsu province, March 19.
Workers prepare high-efficiency solar panels for export at a factory in East China’s Jiangsu province, March 19.

Biotech, advanced equipment manufacturing and other high value-added industries made less of a contribution to China’s total economic inputs last month as technology, labor and capital inputs all shrank, a Caixin index showed Tuesday.

The Mastercard Caixin BBD New Economy Index (NEI) came in at 31.1 in May, indicating that new economy industries accounted for 31.1% of China’s overall economic input activity. The reading was down from 32.1 the previous month.

The NEI aims to track the size of, and changes in, China’s nascent industries by using big data. It measures labor, capital and technology inputs in 10 emerging industries relative to those used by all industries.

Of the three subindexes that make up the NEI, the one for technology inputs, which has a 25% weighting in the index, declined by 2 points month-on-month to 30 in May, the biggest contributor to the NEI drop. The technology subindex measures the number of research personnel recruited by the tracked industries, the number of inventions they create and the number of patents they obtain.

The subindex for capital inputs, which has a 35% weighting, edged down 1 point from April to 37.9. The subindex for labor inputs, which has a weighting of 40%, slipped slightly by 0.2 points to 25.9.

The NEI, launched in March 2016, defines a new economy industry as one that is human capital- and technology-intensive but asset-light, experiences sustainable and rapid growth, and is a strategic new industry encouraged by the government.

Of the 10 tracked industries, the new information technology industry continued to be the largest contributor in May, making up 12.3 percentage points of the NEI reading. Scientific research and high-tech services grew the fastest in terms of contributions, ranking fifth, up from eighth the previous month.

By tracking the daily flow of people in companies, office buildings and shopping malls, the NEI report measures the extent to which businesses have gotten back to work as the Covid-19 outbreak eases in China. In May, it found the flow of people in office buildings returned to 80% of where it was before the Lunar New Year holiday in late January.

The average monthly entry-level salary in new economy industries, based on data compiled from online career and recruitment websites, rose to 11,458 yuan ($1,609) from 11,350 yuan in the previous month.

Monthly NEI reports are written by Caixin Insight Group and Chinese big-data research firm BBD, in collaboration with the National School of Development at Peking University.

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe ( and editor Michael Bellart (

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