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Premier: China confident of continued growth
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He listed out "many favorable conditions" for China to maintainits growth, including the rapid industrialization and urbanization process, abundant supply of labor and capital, huge potential of increased domestic consumption and investment demands, a vast domestic market, and improved ability of macroeconomic regulation.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the second Annual Meeting of the New Champions organized by the World Economic Forum at Tianjin Binhai Convention and Exhibition Center in north China's Tianjin Municipality, Sept. 27, 2008. [Ma Ping/Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the second Annual Meeting of the New Champions organized by the World Economic Forum at Tianjin Binhai Convention and Exhibition Center in north China's Tianjin Municipality, Sept. 27, 2008. [Ma Ping/Xinhua] 

But most of all, the premier's confidence derives from China's adoption of a correct development course, as reflected in the title of his speech: "Reform and Opening-up -- the Eternal Driving Force for China's Development."

"China's changes over the past three decades would not have been possible without reform and opening-up... Reform and opening-up must be carried on through the entire process of China's modernization drive," said Wen.

The fundamental solution to all problems China now faces, including unbalanced growth, pollution and corruption, lies in deepened reform, he stressed.

Applause burst out from time to time in the full-packed Plenary Hall of the Binhai International Convention & Exhibition Center, the meeting's venue, as the participants expressed their approval of Wen's words.

Many of them have come with the hope of finding a platform to pool the wisdom of business leaders and economic masterminds worldwide, to evaluate the impact of the current crisis and propose possible ways out.

They are also interested in what China will do in the face of the crisis, and whether the country could repeat its success in handling the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

"A crisis is often totally unexpected, and it always strikes atthe most unlikely links," said veteran Chinese investor Wu Ying. "That's why we are here -- to react to the crisis with innovative methods and approaches of imaginative power."

Asked about his prescription for the current crisis, the Chinese premier emphasized international cooperation and -- more importantly -- confidence, on the parts of economists, entrepreneurs, the public and the state leaders. "At this moment, confidence is even more precious than gold or any currencies," he said.

And some key participants of the forum share China's confidence.Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, predicted on Friday that the world economy will see a slowdown in growth in the next one to three years, but China will remain the fastest-growing economy with a growth rate of seven to eight percent.

Founded four years ago for growing enterprises, even though some of them were just of medium or small size, the forum of the new champions has picked "The Next Wave of Growth" as the theme for the Tianjin meeting.

In the context of the financial woes, this theme appears even more significant, as many people have started to view the new businesses, whose growth is often driven by inspiration and innovation, as a major leading force of the global economic revival.

And more attention was paid to the emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The infrastructure improvement in the developing nations has given them more opportunities to embrace new technologies and the new economy, such as bio-techs, which will bring new growth, said Peer M. Schatz, chief executive officer of Germany's Qiagen company.

"These young companies have the potential to list among the Fortune 500 in next five to ten years," said Schwab of the more than 200 new champion companies that have come to the Tianjin forum.

According to Premier Wen, China is ready to share its development opportunities with these new businesses, and Tianjin, designed to be "the economic center in north China" in the country's development blueprint, could be a perfect starting ground.

"Many of you are from growing enterprises that are most dynamic,competitive and full of development potential. You are welcome to invest in China, to start businesses in Tianjin and to seize the opportunity and pursue greater development," Wen told the forum participants at the opening ceremony.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)

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