Growth and reform
Updated: 2016-01-01 08:16
By Andrew Moody(China Daily Europe)
This will be a crucial year if China is to meet its target of joining the high-income club of nations, say leading economists
The Chinese government is set to reconfirm in its Five-Year Plan (2016-20) in March the aim of becoming a "moderately well-off society" by 2020.
This will involve breaking out of the so-called middle-income trap that has ensnared developing countries, particularly in Latin America.
The government has set itself a target of doubling its 2010 GDP and per capita income by 2020.
How the economy performs over the next 12 months will partly determine how this goal can be achieved.
President Xi Jinping has already made clear that growth has to be a minimum of 6.5 percent in each of the five years from now for the target to be met.
The government will also decide in March whether to stick to its 2015 growth target of "about 7 percent" for the year ahead or to lower it, as some expect, to somewhere near or at the 6.5 percent mark.
The ambitious overall plan target, however, comes at a time when the Chinese economy faces many challenges as well as global economic uncertainty.
At the Central Economic Work Conference, a key economic meeting held in Beijing in December, the government made clear its priorities for the year ahead.
It wants to embark on major supply side reforms, tackle industrial overcapacity, particularly in the state-owned enterprise sector, and free up capital and labor to be redeployed to faster growing areas of the economy.
It also wants to tackle the key issue of a massive oversupply of unsold homes, which is holding back the property sector - a key driver of the overall economy, fueling demand for steel, concrete and household goods.
To do this, it is to press ahead with reforms to the household registration scheme, or hukou, to allow people to move from rural areas to the cities to buy up existing housing stock.