China's growing divide between rich and poor is threatening its economic as well as its social health, a United Nations report says.
While indicators of prosperity such as income, health and education levels in rich cities like Shanghai were approaching those of some European nations, other regions ranked with African countries like Botswana and Namibia, the report found.
"Inequalities that have emerged during rapid growth have widened to levels that pose additional obstacles (to development)," it concluded.
These inequalities led to lower consumption, labour mobility and productivity, the report suggested - a key finding as global attention focuses on the future of China's economic boom.
The study, carried out for the UN by Chinese researchers, comes at a crucial time in the 30-year history of the country's economic reforms.
During that time, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, and the UN's "human development index" for China has risen to its highest level - on a par overall with better-off developing nations like Turkey and Thailand.