Optimism over economy resonates at 'two sessions'
Optimism over the economy is high at China's ongoing annual legislative and political advisory sessions despite challenges ahead.
China has set its GDP growth target at 6-6.5 percent for 2019, and faces "a graver and more complicated environment as well as risks and challenges" this year, according to the government work report delivered Tuesday.
However, the country's economic fundamentals are sound and new growth drivers are strong, according to lawmakers and political advisers attending the second sessions of the 13th National People's Congress and the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also collectively known as the "two sessions".
Vivian Jiang, a national political adviser and Asia Pacific Clients & Industries Leader with Deloitte, a global auditing and consulting firm, said she and many of her clients are upbeat about China's future economy.
China has a huge domestic market, with the consumption upgrading led by the young population; the business environment is improving; regional coordination programs such as the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta will leverage local strengths and optimize resource allocation, Jiang said.
Facing trade uncertainties, China strives for stable and higher quality growth of foreign trade. South China's Guangdong Province, a major exporter, is diversifying its exports markets to regions like Latin America, said Xu Ruisheng, vice governor of Guangdong and a CPPCC member.
The province is also encouraging local firms to innovate and customize their products and services to boost overseas competitiveness, Xu said.
Wang Yinxiang, a national lawmaker and secretary of the Communist Party of China branch in a village in east China's Shandong Province, is proud to share the success story of lifting the villagers out of poverty and into prosperity by developing a sound agricultural chain.
The village has opened eight physical and online stores to boost sales of their products, and is keen on product innovation to extend their added value, according to Wang.
Robin Li, a national political adviser and CEO of tech giant Baidu, noted that "reform" and "innovation" are two of the most mentioned words in the government work report. Li is particularly inspired by the country's plan to promote artificial intelligence in more fields to propel industrial upgrading, which will be "new fuel" to power the country's development drive.
The government is fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The Ministry of Transport has vowed to encourage autonomous driving development.
"Promises of more support for private firms and improvement of business environment are a boost to our morale," Li added.
Zhang Jindong, an NPC deputy and board chairman of Suning Holdings Group, is upbeat on the country's vast consumption potential. The retail conglomerate plans to open about 15,000 smart retail outlets across the country, especially in communities and villages. It will also recruit another 80,000 employees to support business expansion.
"We are committed to expanding investment and creating more jobs as there is much untapped market potential," Zhang said.