North-eastern China is facing a demographic crisis as educated millennials abandon the industrial heartland, the country’s worst-performing region, according to the Financial Times. Planning officials revealed this month that the economy of Liaoning, one of the three northeastern provinces, had shrunk 2.2% in the first nine months of the year – the largest regional contraction in China in seven years. The depletion of the educated workforce has “worried” the central government, according to Zhou Jianping, director of the office in charge of transforming the north-east’s economy at the National Development and Reform Commission. “Most of the people who left that region are elites, at the management level or the backbone of production lines,” Mr Zhou said. In the 1990s, China’s three north-eastern provinces saw net immigration of 360,000 people, but from 2000 to 2010, 2 million left.