In a special address to the World Economic Forum’s 54th Annual Meeting, China’s Premier Li Qiang offered a positive prognosis for China’s overall economic health, and laid out China’s vision for open, collaborative, pro-business policies for both domestic and multinational enterprises.
In opening remarks delivered before introducing the premier, Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, sounded the meeting’s theme of rebuilding global trust, saying that “trust is a fundamental pillar of our social, economic and political life. It is vital for co-operation, social cohesion and effective functioning of institutions”.
Addressing that theme directly, Li offered five proposals to address the trust deficit in the global macroeconomy: better international co-ordination of macroeconomic policy; more industrial specialisation among countries to stabilise supply chains; more open international exchange of scientific and technological know-how; enhanced international collaboration on green development and addressing climate change; and better North-South co-operation.
On China’s recent economic performance, Li stressed that the country’s contribution to global growth had remained steady at about 30%, and that its scientific and technological talent pool remains the world’s largest.
“Looking at the broader picture, we are now advancing Chinese modernisation on all fronts through high-quality development,” Li said.
“Delivering modernisation to more than 1.4 billion people will be a remarkable achievement in human history, one that will provide continuous impetus to the development of China and the wider world.”
The size of China’s middle class, already at 400 million, would continue to swell to 800 million over the coming decade, Li said.
Urbanisation rates remained 10% lower than in developed countries, he said, indicating that migration to cities will continue apace, creating market opportunities as newly urban households upgrade their consumption.
“All this will create massive demand in areas such as housing, education, medical services and elderly care,” he said.
Li noted China’s contributions towards decarbonisation, citing that more than half of the world's new energy vehicles run on roads in China.
“The new energy vehicle ownership rate reached 20 million by the end of last year, and China contributes one-fourth of the increased area of afforestation in the world,” he said.
He also reaffirmed China's commitment to further opening its economy, sharing these market opportunities with the world and ensuring a business-friendly environment for international co-operation.
“We embrace investments from businesses of all countries with open arms and will continue to work tirelessly to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment that we will steadily expand,” Li said.