The New Today

Commentary

China’s economy promises bright prospect

As China’s most prominent annual political event, the Plenary Sessions of the National People’s Congress and the China People’s Political Consultative Conference (the “Two Sessions”) commenced in Beijing this week, Chinese Premier Li Qiang unveiled in the Government Work Report that China achieved 5.2% GDP growth in 2023, which was hard-won and remarkable amid sluggish world economic recovery and increasingly complex external environment.

The international society applauds China’s achievement and is full of expectations for China’s realisation of the projected target of 5% GDP growth in 2024. We are very confident that the Chinese economy enjoys a brighter prospect and China will continuously contribute to regional prosperity and global economic recovery in the New Year. Here’s why.

First, after years of development, China has established sound and solid economic fundamentals. In promoting economic development, we do not resort to massive stimulus, nor seek short-term growth while accumulating long-term risks. Rather, we focus on strengthening the internal drivers.

Last year, China’s GDP exceeded 12.6 trillion RMB. Calculated in comparable prices, China’s newly increased economic output in the year surpassed 6 trillion RMB, equaling to the output of a medium-sized economy. In terms of the industrial base, China is the only country with industries across all categories in the U.N. industrial classification.

The added value of China’s manufacturing industry accounts for around 30 percent of the global total. In 2023, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s largest automobile exporter for the first time. As the second largest economy in the world, the overall trend of long-term growth will not change.

From the perspective of domestic demand, China’s per capita disposable income grew by 6.1 percent year-on-year, outpacing the GDP in 2023. It means that the Chinese people have more money in their pockets. Over 400 million Chinese people are now in the middle-income bracket, and the number is expected to reach 800 million in the next decade or so.

During the Spring Festival break in February, Chinese people made 2.311 billion trips in 8 days, which means every Chinese made 1.62 trips on average. 474 million domestic trips generated 632.7 billion RMB (87.9 billion USD) in tourism revenue, a 34.3% increase from the previous year and a 19% increase from the 2019 holiday period. These shiny figures demonstrate that China’s economy gets off to a good start in the New Year.

Second, China’s innovation capacity is improving constantly. China has ramped up efforts to pursue high-quality development through technology and innovation. We emphasise on accelerating the development of new quality productive forces, which represent a departure from traditional economic growth models, aligning with China’s new development philosophy which prioritises innovation and sustainability.

China’s total input in research and development and investment in the high-tech sector have been growing at double-digit rates for several years running.

New technologies, including cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and block-chain, are being applied at a faster pace. New products and new business forms such as intelligent terminals, robots and telehealth keep emerging.

China now has some 400,000 high-tech enterprises and ranks second globally in the number of unicorn companies. China boosts 62 of the 153 lighthouse factories named by the World Economic Forum, which represent the world’s highest level of intelligent manufacturing.

China’s digital economy scale would exceed 15 trillion US Dollars by 2027. In 2022, China’s investment in energy transformation has reached 546 billion US dollars, four times that of the US. The market size of green infrastructure, green energy, green transport and green life could reach 10 trillion RMB each year.

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The export of the “New Three”, namely, new energy vehicles, lithium batteries and photovoltaic products exceeded the trillion RMB threshold for the first time in 2023, up 29.7% year-on-year. All these will boost the formation and cultivation of new growth drivers in China.

Third, China’s contribution to the world economy is remarkable. China has become the major trade partner of more than 140 countries in the world. The overall level of tariffs is reduced to 7.3%. In the past 5 years, foreign direct investment rate of return in China is about 9%, which is among the highest in the world.

A report by International Finance Forum points out that China’s contribution to world economy reached 32% in 2023, and China remains the biggest momentum for world economic growth. According to an IMF study, every 1 percentage point growth of China’s economy will drive the growth of other countries by 0.3 percentage points, and China will remain the main contributor to global growth in 2024.

Moreover, China will continue its high-level opening up to share its development achievements with the rest of the world. Looking forward to the year ahead, China will continue to work together with the rest of the world to make the pie of global economic development bigger and contribute more to the prosperity of the world.

In particular, I want to mention that commerce and trade play a very significant role in economic development. China has inked 22 FTAs with 29 countries and regions, including 5 Latin American and Caribbean countries, which have brought substantial growth to relevant parties.

China has been the 2nd largest trade partner for Latin American and Caribbean region for many years, with bilateral trade between China and regional countries increased 35 times from 2000 to 2022. China will step up efforts to expand its global network of high-standard free trade.

We hope Grenada could positively consider joining China’s FTA “friends circle”, so as to bring greater opportunities and broader prospects for our economic and trade cooperation. China and Grenada have enjoyed very cordial relations and fruitful cooperation since the resumption of diplomatic ties in January 2005.

On its path to modernisation and national rejuvenation, China is willing to further enhance practical cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect and win-win result with all partners including Grenada.

I am also very sure that with the implementation of “2020-2035 National Sustainable Development Plan” and the “Vision 75”, Grenada will realise its noble goal of a bright future of development, prosperity and well-being.

At the invitation of Hon.Joseph Andall, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Export Development, a six-member delegation from Zhejiang Province of China will visit Grenada next week. During the visit, the delegation will hold a symposium on the promotion of trade and investment cooperation with the Grenadian business community, with the collaboration of Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce(GCIC). Zhejiang is one of the most developed regions in China, and we hope that the visit could contribute to the mutual understanding and cooperation between China and Grenada.

Ambassador Wei Hongtian is the resident diplomat of China to St George’s, Grenada