‘Hidden pockets of strength’ of China’s economy are thrusting up: Global Times editorial
Published: Aug 20, 2022 12:59 AM
Lujiazui Photo:VCG

Lujiazui Photo:VCG

If you look at all the recent foreign media coverage of China's economy, you will likely get confused, as different reports paint very different pictures, many contradicting each other. But for longtime observers of China's economy, it is easy to notice that there has been a notable increase in positive coverage in foreign media, which allows the world, including us, to see the richer dimension of China's economy.

It is an essential matter for the whole world to assess and judge the current situation and future trends of China's economy as comprehensively and accurately as possible. However, in many cases, people have the problem of being unable to see the forest for the trees, especially as China's economy has been facing serious challenges this year due to unfavorable domestic and external factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the worsening geopolitical situation. Some voices outside China are expressing pessimism toward the Chinese economy, and a pessimistic sentiment has appeared in the country as well.

To be honest, at a time like this, the fact that many optimistic voices about China's economy have emerged in foreign public opinion seems to be a bit "unexpected" and naturally attracts people's attention. But it is more important to understand how the logic and perspective behind these opinions can inspire us, and whether they can help us see the road ahead more clearly.

A Bloomberg report on Friday headlined "China's Economy Has Hidden Pockets of Strength" argues that the economy may be healthier than it look. In a Thursday article, titled "Don't Believe the Grim Forecast. China Is Just Fine," Bloomberg writes, "Industrial China is alive and well despite concerns of an economic slowdown. It just doesn't look like it did before." It is time to "look at [China's economy] through a new lens," the report suggests. Meanwhile, UK media MoneyWeek says that most analysts pushing the view that "China is in serious economic trouble" are deluding themselves, and "Britain, the US, Germany or France would kill for numbers as good as" that of China's economic growth rate and low inflation.

Many people may wonder why foreign companies in China have increased their investments instead of withdrawing from the country, when Washington is making all efforts to isolate and besiege China economically. The answer is not really complicated. The Chinese market is indispensable to big companies and some industries, not only because of its size, writes a German media outlet on Thursday. China has a large group of highly qualified professionals and many partners in high-tech. Moreover, research and development results can be applied rapidly, and new high-tech products are accepted by a very innovation-friendly public.

Of course, just as the above-mentioned MoneyWeek article suggests, lots of people in the West want China to fail, and they are simply looking around for whatever evidence they can find to back that up. Former US Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers recently said that the theory of "China is overtaking the US" is reminiscent of "economic forecasts for Russia that were made in 1960 or for Japan that were made in 1990." What he means is that China's economy is going down the same path as the Soviet Union and Japan. As the global economy as a whole is not doing well, countries are looking for more effective ways to recover their economies. But when it comes to China, some public opinion often tries to lead the country toward the direction of information warfare and competition between ideologies.

For the Chinese economy, pessimists are never short of reasons to be pessimistic, and optimists can always find evidence to be optimistic. Accompanied by the sound of pessimistic voices again and again, the Chinese economy has followed a big upward path in the past 40 years, which has become the legend of this era. This is what all the Chinese people achieved step by step. It doesn't really matter how others talk about it. The key is that we are determined, and we firmly believe that as long as we work hard, our lives will definitely get better and better. In the past few decades, China navigated through various contradictions and problems, and the password for making breakthroughs is "firmly doing our own things well."

In the reports, some foreign media outlets bluntly stated that some investors and China watchers "didn't want to believe that the world's factory floor could selectively upgrade itself and gain market share as it has." 

According to data released by China's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday, from January to July, the actual use of foreign capital in the country was 798.33 billion yuan ($123.92 billion), an increase of 21.5 percent. The actual use of foreign capital in the high-tech industry rose by 32.1 percent. In the first seven months, China's exports accounted for 15 percent of global trade, a level only achieved by the US in the 1950s and 1960s. For a long time, the outside world has had a relatively large cognitive blind spot on the positive aspects of China's economy.

China's economy has become a vast forest that challenges human cognition. In this forest, some trees are thriving, some young shoots are just emerging from the ground, and some trees have worms. However, endless lives and vitality are the main themes of this forest. This is the greatest certainty of the Chinese economy.