Close look: Achievements and challenges of Chinese economy


Global Times (17 January 2020) -China’s GDP grew 6.1 percent to 99.09 trillion yuan ($14.4 trillion) in 2019, almost reaching 100 trillion yuan. Besides, the GDP per capita surpassed $10,000 for the first time, reaching $10,276.

On Friday, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics also announced the population in the Chinese mainland has passed 1.4 billion. All these figures put forth enough valuable inputs to  meaningfully  analyse the Chinese economy and social development.

First, from China’s perspective, the 6.1 percent growth indicates the downward trend of the Chinese economy has not ended yet. China will face severe challenges if it strives to keep its growth rate at 6 percent in 2020.

However, when it comes to the global arena, this growth rate is the fastest among major powers whose GDP exceeded $1 trillion. The growth of the US economy is estimated at 2.3 percent, while the economy of Germany, the locomotive of Europe, may only register a 0.6 percent growth. The Indian economy is estimated to have grown by 5 percent. Japan and South Korea is over 1 percent and below 2 percent respectively.

The GDP per capita of over $10,000 can be seen as a great long-term achievement. In 2018, China’s GDP per capita ranked 67th in the world, falling behind Mexico (66th) and Russia (60th), and the two countries that were behind China were Turkey and Bulgaria. Going further back in 2008, China ranked only 104th, and it ranked 133 in 2000.

Of course, we can’t indulge ourselves in this progress. Every society tends to focus on future achievements. Every company will be under pressure to deliver bigger output the next year if it performs exceedingly well in the current year. A country also endures similar pressure.

But neither companies nor countries will stride forward forever. It is obvious for China, as a big economy, to face downturn after realizing decades of high economic growth. 

Nonetheless, China will always try to break the limits. It should aim for a 6-percent growth in 2020.  When the economy is experiencing a slowdown not only public confidence is affected but the vitality of the economy bears a blow too, including  employment and business operations. 

Many people feel some parts of the vitality of the economy have been restrained, and the country should and is capable of fully releasing it.

There is also a great room for interpretation regarding China’s 1.4 billion population. The population of the EU, a 28-nation-bloc, is 512 million. That of the US and Canada is 364 million altogether. Japan has 127 million people, and Australia and New Zealand have 30 million. In total, all these countries have 1.033 billion people. Even added with the population of the four little dragons, which is about 90 million, the population of the world’s developed countries reaches 1.12 billion, 280 million fewer than that of the Chinese mainland. 

Governing China, the scale of which is much bigger than the Western world, is such a difficult task. It requires more driving force, vitality as well as rules and cohesion to make sure China walks steadily and fast as it started low. It will be an unprecedented challenge to balance all these indices. 

Clearly the Chinese government bears more responsibilities to lead the country forward than those medium and small governments of the already developed Western countries. As a super-sized society, the Chinese public has various demands . For instance, although they understand the  principles of the economy, they still hope the Chinese economy in 2020 can keep the 6 percent growth rate. On the other hand, although China’s challenges are different from that of Western countries, the number of problems the country is enduring is supposed to be more than that of the Western countries.

China can only face up to all kinds of challenges and uncertainties in 2020. Wish it perform better. 

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