China’s years of a high-speed growth were over as the government will now focus on the quality and efficiency of economic development, President Xi Jinping told a group of leading businessmen on Monday.
“It does not mean we cannot maintain economic growth at a very fast pace,” Xi said, adding: “we just don't want to anymore.”
The country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.8 percent in 2012, the slowest pace in 13 years.
China recorded annual average growth of 9.9 percent since the country began opening up its economy, he said, describing the feat as “rarely seen in the history of world economic development”.
Xi was speaking at a meeting of business leaders from around 30 companies held as part of the Boao Forum for Asia, an annual gathering of political and economic leaders, on the Hainan island, off the southern coast of China.
“With our efforts, China will sustain relatively high economic growth, but not super high economic growth. It is not necessary,” Xi reiterated in his speech.
Xi said the GDP figure for 2012 was lower than in previous years partly due to the efforts to control the speed of economic growth and accelerate the transformation of its growth model.
The state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying that China will not solely pursue high-speed economic growth but focus more on the quality and efficiency of economic development.
“The country will put more efforts toward green development, recycled development and low-carbon development,” he said.
China’s change in strategy in developing economy also comes at a time when the new government has stressed on moving from manufacturing and exports-driven model to focus more domestic consumption.
Experts say that the changes in the economic model were also to do with demand for Chinese goods cooling off in Europe and the US and the rising cost of manufacture, like expenditure on labour, rising over the years.
Zhang Yansheng, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told Xinhua: “President Xi is pragmatic about the country's future. With a population of 1.3 billion, China aims to move from being a middle-income society to being a high-income one in the next three decades, which is a real historic change," Zhang said in an interview with Xinhua.”
Xi said the country has set two goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and turn the nation into a “modern, socialist country.”