During rapid urbanization and marketization, China has experienced unbalanced economic and social development – both between and within cities – and social groups. To promote social justice and sustainable development, not to mention political stability, the establishment and improvement of the prevailing social welfare system is crucial. However, the demographic transitions and social changes during the reform era pose a great challenge to China’s present welfare system. Focusing on the unbalanced development of the Chinese welfare system, this collaborative research project aims to explore China’s current welfare development, new forms of governance and propose practical and realistic policy recommendations for future development.