Nine Chinese provinces and cities raised their minimum wages on Thursday by as much as a third, following Premier Wen Jiabao’s statement last week pushing companies to create "harmonious employment relations", Bloomberg reported. Beijing is increasing the lowest monthly salary from RMB800 to RMB960 (US$142), according to the municipal government’s website. Meanwhile, the central Chinese province of Henan will raise its minimum wage by 33% to RMB600 (US$88). The rise in minimum wages comes after labor strikes halted production at Toyota Motor (TM.NYSE, 7203.TYO) and Honda Motor (HMC.NYSE, 7267.TYO) plants in China. Some analysts believe the increased salaries among China’s 468 million industrial and services workers will help China boost consumption in the economy, reducing its reliance on exports and investment as drivers of growth.
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