As China sets out to transform itself from world factory to urban consumer powerhouse, who are the consumers who will perform the transition? The country is going in two different directions, according to a variety of studies. Population growth is slowing, perhaps even faster than the policy makers expected. Although population more than doubled, from 551 million to 1.28 billion between 1950 and 2000. However, over the past two decades the population grew by only 8 percent, from 2000 to 1.37 billion in 2012.