China's demographic timebomb is ticking much louder with the first fall in its labour pool for decades, analysts say, highlighting the risk that the country grows old before it grows rich.
Women work in a textile factory in Jiujiang, east China's Jiangxi province, January 16, 2013. China's working-age population, defined as 15-59, fell 3.45 million last year, official data showed earlier this month -- the first decline since 1963, after tens of millions died in a famine caused by the Great Leap Forward.
The abundant supply of cheap workers in the world's most populous nation has created unprecedented cost efficiencies that underpinned its blistering economic expansion over the past 35 years, propelling the global economy forward.
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