Business model upgrade crucial for new jobs in H2

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/13 18:51:43

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

With continuously prudent efforts to contain the novel coronavirus and reboot the world's second-largest economy, China's economic growth in the second quarter, to be announced this week,  has seen increasingly favorable signs, and is expected to be a highlight in the world amid the pandemic.

Wuhan in Central China's Hubei Province was the city hit hardest by the disease in the country. It lifted its over-two-month strict lockdown on April 8, which marked the effective containment of the viral outbreak in the country. 

Though a small cluster of infections stemming from a wholesale food market reemerged in Beijing in June, the outbreak was quickly brought under control, meaning virus prevention in China has entered an "orphan outbreak" phase - meaning the country will be able to contain a lone resurgence effectively with its garnered experiences. 

Therefore, a second big wave of resurgence is unlikely to occur in China. The epidemic's negative impact on the Chinese economy is fading, with economic and social activities gradually returning to normal in the second quarter.

However, China's economic growth also faces some challenges, with how to resolve the unemployment issue being the most critical. There will be a record high of 8.74 million college graduates needing jobs this year. 

Pressure also comes from structural unemployment and some migrant workers groups returning to poverty after the outbreak.

Among recent employment topics, the re-introduction of street vendors - which aims to ease employment pressure and boost the post-epidemic economy - has been widely discussed. Street vendors are essentially small convenience stores, hairdressers or cafes, which not only offer a path to ease unemployment, but also relate to people's livelihood. After all, people need simple and easily accessible services to make a living.

The Chinese economy is at a crossroads, facing the choice of whether to seek a new, high-quality growth path or revisit its past growth ways. The real question lurking is how to introduce new technologies into traditional manufacturing and services so as to realize a business model upgrade that generate more jobs.

During the upgrading process to gear traditional services toward big data platforms or the Internet of Things, an abundance of new jobs to be created will meet the employment needs of many college graduates. 

Though the pandemic continues to cast a shadow on the global economy, the prospects of the Chinese economy remain very upbeat, and a relatively recovered economy in the second quarter could pave the way for more new jobs in the second half of the year.

The article was compiled based on a Global Times interview with Zhang Yansheng. Zhang is chief researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.


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