Optimism over Chinese economy resonates at ‘two sessions’

BEIJING (Xinhua) – Optimism over the economy is high at China’s ongoing annual legislative and political advisory sessions despite challenges ahead.

China has set its GDP growth target at 6-6.5 per cent for 2019, and faces “a graver and more complicated environment as well as risks and challenges” this year, according to the government work report delivered on Tuesday.

However, the country’s economic fundamentals are sound and new growth drivers are strong, according to lawmakers and political advisors attending the second sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), also collectively known as the ‘two sessions’.

National Political Advisor and Asia Pacific Clients & Industries Leader with Deloitte, a global auditing and consulting firm Vivian Jiang said she and many of her clients are upbeat about China’s future economy.

China has a huge domestic market, with the consumption upgrading led by the young population; the business environment is improving; regional coordination programmes such as the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta will leverage local strengths and optimise resource allocation, Jiang said.

Facing trade uncertainties, China strives for stable and higher quality growth of foreign trade. South China’s Guangdong Province, a major exporter, is diversifying its exports markets to regions like Latin America, said Xu Ruisheng, vice governor of Guangdong and a CPPCC member.

The province is also encouraging local firms to innovate and customise their products and services to boost overseas competitiveness, Xu said.

National lawmaker and secretary of the Party of China branch in a village in east China’s Shandong Province Wang Yinxiang is proud to share the success story of lifting the villagers out of poverty and into prosperity by developing a sound agricultural chain.

The village has opened eight physical and online stores to boost sales of their products, and is keen on product innovation to extend their added value, according to Wang.

National Political Advisor and CEO of tech giant Baidu Robin Li noted that “reform” and “innovation” are two of the most mentioned words in the government work report. Li is particularly inspired by the country’s plan to promote artificial intelligence in more fields to propel industrial upgrading, which will be “new fuel” to power the country’s development drive.

The government is fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The Ministry of Transport has vowed to encourage autonomous driving development.

“Promises of more support for private firms and improvement of business environment are a boost to our morale,” Li added.

NPC Deputy and Board Chairman of Suning Holdings Group Zhang Jindong is upbeat on the country’s vast consumption potential. The retail conglomerate plans to open about 15,000 smart retail outlets across the country, especially in communities and villages.