Q: The Chinese economy has maintained a momentum of rapid growth while many other economies in the world have slumped. As far as China is concerned, what are the reasons behind such a contrast? Will China continue to maintain such strong momentum?
A: The growth of the world economy has slowed down in general since the 1980s, especially after we entered the 21st century when it registered an average annual growth rate of only 2 percent. In comparison, China's annual economic growth rate has been more than 7.5 percent on average. This phenomenon have attracted people's attention and led them to explore why such a big gap exists.
Reviewing China's development over the last two decades, we can conclude that the following five factors have sustained the country's rapid economic growth:
First, China started to implement the policy of reform and opening up to the outside world at the end of the 1970s. As a result, obstacles to economic development under the traditional planned economy were eliminated and productivity fully unleashed. In the meantime, China adopted a step-by-step approach in pushing the reform forward, striking a balance between the reform, development and social stability are properly tackled, which has guaranteed a stable, sustained and rapid economic growth.
Second, China has compiled middle- and long-term development plans every few years according to the characteristics and needs of different development phases. This has helped sustain the stability and continuity of China's economic growth.
Third, with the deepening of the reform and opening up and by solving increasingly complicated issues China has encountered both at home and abroad, the country has become more experienced in economic macro control. Through expanding domestic demand, China successfully alleviated the pressure of deflation during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, and fended off other adverse effects.
Fourth, China has attached great importance to the making of coordinated policies in market-oriented forms, which has not only created the necessary conditions for a sustained, stable and rapid growth, but has also promoted social equality and progress.
Fifth, upholding the policy of opening to the outside world, China has enhanced international economic and technical cooperation and vigorously taken part in international market competition. As the reform and the open policy continue, the country's foreign trade is experiencing a structural transformation. The rapid growth in foreign trade has become an important driving force of China's economy.
Despite China's fast economic development, the general level of the economy still remains low and the country has a long way to go to realize industrialization and modernization.
According to the predictions of the Development Research Center of the central government, the annual growth rate will be sustained at about 8 percent between 2006 and 2010; the speed of growth will slow down between 2010 and 2020 to around 7.
Positive factors to sustain China's future growth include better infrastructure and technical conditions, an optimized industrial structure, a more competitive manufacturing industry, a broad domestic market with huge growth potentials, the deepening of structural reforms and the improvement of the investment environment. We have all the reasons to believe that China's strong growth momentum can be maintained in the next 15 to 20 years.