Chinese Premier's intensive inspection tours highlight key growth drivers, inject confidence
Published: May 19, 2023 10:50 PM
A view of Beijing Photo: VCG

A view of Beijing Photo: VCG

Chinese Premier Li Qiang took an inspection tour in East China's Shandong Province from Wednesday to Thursday, where he urged efforts to boost the real economy, expand domestic demand and stabilize external demand to boost economic recovery.

This is the latest of Li's intensive inspection trips to localities across the country in recent months, after stressing the importance of such tours at the annual two sessions in March when he became the Chinese Premier. 

The tours have covered a wide range of industries, showing that boosting the real economy and encouraging innovation are still key drivers for future development, said Chinese experts. The Premier's trips will help the government make further tailor-made policies that will inject more confidence into the Chinese economy, they noted.

Since March, Li has made trips to various localities, including Central China's Hunan Province, South China's Hainan Province, Beijing, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Shandong.

At a meeting during his trip to Shandong, Li heard work reports from local officials, including Zhao Qingwen, mayor of Zibo City, footage aired by China Media Group showed. The city has come under the spotlight for its local specialty food, Zibo barbecue, and the local government has taken various measures to attract visitors. A report showed that local tourism revenues during the May Day holidays increased by 73 percent month-on-month.

Li said at the meeting that it is necessary to lead and create demand with high-quality supply, create more consumption hotspots, and do a good job on consumption. Consumption, which is the biggest driver for China's economic growth, is a top focus during Li's inspection tours. 

In Shandong, he stressed the need for efforts to improve purchasing policies for new-energy vehicles while accelerating the construction of charging piles and other infrastructure, in order to unleash the consumption potential of new-energy vehicles further, according to Xinhua. 

The premier said that the real economy is the lifeblood of China's economy. Also, the country should foster advanced manufacturing clusters, make coordinated efforts to transform and upgrade traditional industries, and foster and expand strategic emerging industries, while moving industries to the medium-high end, he said.

Innovation is also a huge focus of Li's trips. During an inspection tour of unicorn companies in Beijing last month, Li said that he hopes they can focus more on achieving breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields, and contribute to China's efforts to achieve high-standard self-reliance in science and technology.

Experts said that the down-to-earth approach has injected confidence in China's economic development. 

Li said during a press conference in March, "I have worked at the local level for a long time and I have a deep feeling: When you sit in the office, there are problems; but when you go to the grassroots, there are solutions."

The inspection tours have covered a wide range of industries, will help the government make informed decisions, and have also highlighted the key drivers for China's economic growth in the second quarter and beyond, Wang Peng, a research fellow at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

The visits revealed some specific areas that the government could focus on, including boosting the real economy and encouraging innovation, which will still be the drivers for China's economic development in the next stage, Wang noted.

China has witnessed a steady expansion in industrial output, consumption and the services sector, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, indicating that the world's second-largest economy has continued its upward momentum in the economic recovery.

To further lift the economy, China's top leadership stressed on April 28 that key tasks at the current stage include stepping up efforts to expand demand and consolidate the foundation of self-reliance and strength in science and technology.

On Friday, Li chaired an executive meeting of the State Council to study and implement the overall work plan and recent measures for building a unified market.

Li said that it is necessary to accelerate the development of a large, unified national market that is efficient and standardized with fair competition and full openness to provide strong support for promoting high-quality development.

A more efficient and integrated market will help boost economic growth, reduce business costs for industries and provide investors with more and better investment opportunities, experts said.

"The formation of a unified large market will foster transparent competition and cooperation between industry players in the domestic market. It will break barriers and make China's economy run more efficiently," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.