Remittances are an integral feature of the internal migration process in China. According to a report released by the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, in 2005 China’s rural migrants sent nearly USD 30 billion back home to their families. The significance of domestic remittances becomes even more evident when the large numbers of people receiving remittances are taken into account. Owing to the shorter travel distances, the lower cost of labour market entry and the larger volume of domestic migrants relative to international migrants, domestic remittances are likely to benefit more poor people than international money transfers. Clearly, in the case of China, remittances have greatly improved the incomes of rural populations. In order to understand the contributions remittances can make to development and the ways in which potential benefits may be
enhanced, there are several questions that need to be answered. For instance, how are such funds distributed within and across regions? What channels are used to send money to the rural areas? Who are the people in the rural community receiving the money? Why do some migrants fail to remit? How are remittances spent? And, what are the policy implications of how the money is distributed, remitted and used?
This report draws on a rich body of English and Chinese literature to find answers to these questions.