China still growing economy in its youth, with peak far off: Li Daokui
Published: Jan 11, 2024 10:25 PM
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The skyline of Lujiazui in Shanghai Photo: CFP

The skyline of Lujiazui in Shanghai Photo: CFP

China is still a growing economy and remains in its youth. Some foreign observers believed that China's economy has reached its peak, while others compare China's economic performance with that of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and that of Japan in the 1990s, which are seriously flawed.

The problems that China's economy is encountering now cannot be simply attributed to the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the superficial issues such as local debt, property sector and the private sector. 

The fundamental problem that needs to be addressed is that the emphasis on social governance in recent years, which has undoubtedly improved the governance capacity and structure, has also exerted some contradictory effect on economic development, and therefore we need to shift focus from preventing "economic overheating" to "economic overcooling."

The Central Economic Work Conference held in December is being viewed as the most important meeting on economic work in the past decade. 

The meeting explicitly pointed out "upholding high-quality development as the unyielding principle of the new era," "promoting stability through progress," and "establishing the new before abolishing the old."

If relevant policies can overcome inertia, bring about proper adjustment and be implemented efficiently in 2024, China's economic growth is expected to regain momentum. 

If excluding the low base effect from the previous year, the economic growth in 2023 is expected to be around 4.5 percent, instead of around 5.3 percent with a low base. In 2024, we expect China's economy to grow by around 5 percent, which would be very impressive.

The article is based on a speech delivered by Li Daokui, Director of Tsinghua University's Academic Center for Chinese Economic Practice and Thinking (ACCEPT) at a recent forum.