China shifts to quality growth

China’s focus has shifted to higher-quality growth and will no longer target doubling the country’s GDP in its two-stage development plan from 2020-2050, a senior official said on Thursday.

“The main consideration is that the major contradiction facing Chinese society has changed as the country’s economic development has shifted from high-speed growth to a higher-quality development stage,” Yang Weimin, deputy director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, told a press conference following the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The most prominent problem facing the country is not inadequate industrial capacity, but that the quality of economic growth is not good enough, Yang said.

But he denied that the country has abandoned growth rates. The conspicuous break from past practices, Yang said, was taken by the Party Congress out of consideration to better implement the new vision for development.

In his speech at the opening session of the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said China will become a moderately prosperous country by 2020, and that the Party has drawn up a two-stage development plan from 2020 to the middle of the 21st century to develop China into a “great modern socialist country.”

In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, the CPC will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized. In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the CPC will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.

Yang said that the vision shows that the economy will achieve socialist modernization 15 years ahead of schedule.

“Modernization would be more multifaceted than just GDP growth, incorporating greater concern for social well-being, regional balance, national security and political cohesion, but done in a uniquely China way,” Yukon Huang, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former World Bank country director for China, told the Global Times.

Overall, optimism prevails for the dividends the world’s second-largest economy will receive from the key gathering held every five years.

Financial sector uncertainties

China’s economic policy will be more mature and steadier, not only more in line with the national conditions but will address the people’s key concerns and will focus on their well-being, Liu Zhiqin, a senior fellow at Renmin University of China’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, told the Global Times.

“There won’t be dramatic fluctuations in economic growth in the coming periods,” Liu said, adding the financial sector remains the only uncertainty.

Analysts believe that China will face challenges from the financial sector in the coming decade, with the key issues to include how China will further open up its capital market.

The international community also places high hopes on China to further liberalize its capital market, Liu said.

But China has the confidence and ability to push ahead with financial reforms to further open up the capital market, as reflected by the country’s latest transaction of dollar-denominated sovereign bonds in Hong Kong, he added. The Ministry of Finance has announced plans to issue US dollar-denominated sovereign bonds worth $2 billion in Hong Kong and has begun discussions with potential investors to further open up the country’s financial sector.

Huang said that the Party congress has called for more support for private firms, but also recommended stronger and bigger State firms. He added that the latter reinforces the view that many of the largest State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are considered China’s “national champions.”

“Thus far, Beijing has been pushing for the ‘soft’ reform option in the form of diversifying SOE ownership. What is now needed is more clarity in sectors where there is no strong justification for continued State involvement while preserving or even enhancing the role of the State in other areas,” he said.

Source: Global Times


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