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2012, maybe not the last but still one of the hardest year (2)

(Xinhua)

13:17, January 01, 2012

"The export situation in 2012 will not be less severe, if not more, and many export businesses may not survive," Zheng said. "But, anyway, I must be well prepared to tackle all crises."

To lessen the impact of waning demand from Western countries, King Deer, like many other export companies, has been struggling to explore new overseas markets and woo domestic consumers.

Zheng spent the first day of the new year negotiating orders he hopes will help buffer King Deer against the grim economic outlook for 2012.

"Since our competitors are all scrambling for orders, I must make full use of every minute in the new year," Zheng said.

Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor of sociology with Renmin University of China, attributed the doomsday sentiments to "the venting of pressure under growing uncertainty."

Active microblog users, mostly young and educated professionals, revealed high expectations for living standards, but they were also easily shaken by economic turbulence like rampant inflation, Zhou said.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.5 percent year-on-year in the January-November period, an increase well above the government's target of containing inflation within 4 percent in 2011.

"Let the world be over. I can no longer stand the exhausting work," said Lu Siyu, who graduated from college in 2011 and got a job in a large logistics company based in Shenzhen, the pilot city for China's economic reform 30 years ago as well as one of the world's fastest-growing cities.

For Lu, 2011 meant lots of work and little earnings. She squeezed work into most of her off hours and sometimes spent all night finishing as much work as possible -- even tasks that were not her responsibilities.

The hard-working employee, however, managed to save no money in the past year. Lu said her salary could barely cover her daily expenses in the vibrant economic hub where living costs are among the country's highest.

"Colleagues and friends often say that making money is becoming harder, but everything keeps getting more expensive," Lu said.


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