China: Sustaining growth amid challenges

Updated: 2013-03-28 09:21


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Despite the much-talked-about slowdown, the China growth story is still an enviable and impressive one. But after years of heady growth, the country now faces critical challenges on multiple fronts. For Chinese policymakers - sustainability is now the name of the game.

China's GDP has grown at an average annual rate of 9.3 percent over the past five years, to make it the second largest economy in the world.

Zhu Haibin, chief China economist of JP Morgan, said, "It's probably the biggest event in the global economy in the past few years, that China has surpassed Japan to become the second biggest economy. The market widely expected that in 10 or 15 years, that China will also surpass US to become the biggest economy in the world. "

Achieving the targeted growth rate is not an easy task. The global economic slowdown dragged down external demand, denting China's export sector.

CCTV reporter Guan Xin said, "To cope with the external headwinds, China is striving to stimulate domestic demand. Its vast consumer market is considered the engine for future growth. This also benefits overseas' investors. Meanwhile, China's outbound investment is growing at a rapid pace, helping create productivity and employment in other countries."

The country's new leadership is confident of achieving growth of 7.5 percent over the next decade by further boosting domestic demand, reform, and innovation.

Xu Sitao, chief China rep. of The Economist Group, said, "It's a fact that the old model is not working. China is now a middle income country. So the cost structure is completely different. Therefore China must rely on domestic-led growth - mainly private consumption. At the same time, we must accept slower but better quality growth."

But a big concern now is the environmental cost of economic growth. Pollution, smog, and a costly dependence on energy have forced the country to change its development pattern.

Wang Fengying, general manager of Great Wall Motors, said, "This year the government work report highlights green, recycling and low carbon agendas. These will all have a far-reaching impact on the auto industry. We feel that we should increase spending in R&D and innovation in the core technology of energy saving and reducing emissions."

Instead of pursuing unrestrained GDP growth, the country is now aiming for long-term sustainable growth, and contributing to world economic stability.