Forum addresses further reform and opening-up

Wan Lixin
Leading experts exchanged views on the need for deepening reform and opening-up against the backdrop of China's current economic development.
Wan Lixin

Leading experts exchanged views on the need for deepening reform and opening-up against the backdrop of China’s current economic development at a forum held in Shanghai last Friday.

The forum was attended by Zhao Qizheng, former head of the State Council Information Office and former vice mayor of Shanghai, Justin Lin Yifu, a professor at Peking University and former World Bank chief economist, Tang Jie, former vice mayor of Shenzhen, Hai Wen, former deputy president of Peking University, and Zhang Jun, dean of Fudan University’s School of Economics and director of China Center for Economic Studies at Fudan University.

The forum was sponsored by The Paper and China Center for Economic Studies at Fudan University.

In his keynote speech, Zhao said that in spite of the interval of 10 years between the opening-up of Shenzhen in 1980 and that of Pudong in 1990, there is closer underlying connection between the two events, for it was the success of Shenzhen that prompted the central government’s decision to open up Pudong.

Zhao said that a correct appraisal of Pudong’s achievement in opening-up entails more attention to the “soft results” lurking in the ideological recesses, rather than just “hard results” as suggested by GDP growth.

Specifically, the “soft results” refer to the ideas, methodology and experiences that have accrued in tackling difficulties encountered in the pioneering endeavor of opening up Pudong.

He said that Pudong should be encouraged in pushing forward with its reform effort in multiple aspects.

Lin observed that, given the steady expansion of the size of Chinese economy, the growth in per capita income, and the rising sharing of the service sector in the whole economy, the weight of domestic circulation will keep growing.

Domestic circulation

Lin added that against the backdrop of China-US trade tensions, some people wrongly believe that China’s export-led economic model has led to growing trade imbalance. As a matter of fact, China’s exports accounted for 35.4 percent of GDP in 2006, and have dropped to 17.4 percent of the GDP in 2019, meaning that today 82.6 percent of the output has been recycled domestically.

This suggests that Chinese economy is already chiefly driven by domestic circulation, though future development still needs to be driven by a healthy interplay between domestic circulation and international circulation.

This calls for continuing technological innovation and industrial upgrade. In this aspect, China enjoys two advantages. In traditional industry, China enjoys the late-mover advantage. The second advantage is the new economy. Fully leveraging these advantages calls for deepening reforms.

Zhang observed that China’s future growth calls for the stepped-up integration of the Yangtze River Delta region spearheaded by Shanghai, further fusion of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, and the cohesive development of Shenzhen and Hong Kong. In the years to come the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Economic Belt will be the two key drivers of China’s economic growth.

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