Changing nar­ra­tive her­alds a golden age

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO -

One of my first as­sign­ments at China Daily was to visit Guang­dong prov­ince, which, as the world’s lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing hub, had been badly hit by the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Ac­cord­ing to some es­ti­mates, ex­ports had slumped by as much as 30 per­cent in its im­me­di­ate af­ter­math.

By the time I made my own per­sonal southern tour in Au­gust 2009, things were more sta­ble.

The story I was re­port­ing on was about the la­bor short­age that had arisen as a re­sult of mi­grant work­ers who had lost their jobs and gone home not be­ing pre­pared to come back.

The gov­ern­ment had re­sponded to the over­all cri­sis with the big­gest stim­u­lus pack­age in fi­nan­cial his­tory — us­ing its vast for­eign ex­change re­serves to in­vest 4 tril­lion yuan ($599 bil­lion) into its econ­omy.

The gen­eral feel­ing among gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and

This Day, That Year

Item­fromAug10,1983,in Chi­naDaily:About15,000 grad­u­ates­from56u­ni­ver­si­tiesand­col­le­gesinBei­jing have­beenas­signed­po­si­tions on­keypro­ject­sthisyear.

Long gone are the days, in the 1980s and 1990s, when jobs were as­signed by the gov­ern­ment, as the com­pe­ti­tion in the job mar­ket is getting tougher, es­pe­cially for the in­creas­ing num­ber of busi­ness­peo­ple I met at the time was that from then on the Chi­nese would have to look in­wards rather than out­wards for the so­lu­tion to eco­nomic prob­lems.

The hope was that Chi­nese con­sumers would take up the slack from a lack of in­ter­na­tional de­mand.

I was re­minded of this trip while re­port­ing on China’s re­cent sec­ond quar­ter eco­nomic data.

The head­line, of course, was that af­ter a strong first half per­for­mance — record­ing GDP growth of 6.9 per­cent — the econ­omy was on course for an in­crease in its an­nual growth rate for the first time since 2010.

What caught my at­ten­tion — and that of many oth­ers — as the fact that one of the main driv­ers of the faster growth was an 11.3 per­cent year-on-year rise in ex­ports in June.

Bet­ter-than-ex­pected global growth is again sup­port­ing the China econ­omy, rather than act­ing as a drag on it.

China has again got back this vi­tal eco­nomic en­gine. Some such as Li Daokui, the in­flu­en­tial Chi­nese econo- univer­sity grad­u­ates.

About 7.95 mil­lion col­lege stu­dents will seek work this year, an in­crease of 300,000 over last year, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

To help ease the pres­sure, the State Coun­cil, China’s Cab­i­net, has an­nounced a se­ries of poli­cies to en­cour­age grad­u­ates to re­turn to their home­towns for star­tups or find em­ploy­ment in ru­ral ar­eas. Last year, about StarWars mist and di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for China in the World Econ­omy at Ts­inghua Univer­sity, be­lieves the whole nar­ra­tive about the China econ­omy is about to change.

The as­sump­tion has been that as the econ­omy ma­tures China’s eco­nomic growth must in­evitably de­cline.

Li is now pre­dict­ing a new “golden” era for the econ­omy, with growth go­ing above 7 per­cent — a rate last seen in 2014.

He ar­gues that it is not only ex­ports that will drive this but much more proac­tive lo­cal gov­ern­ment poli­cies af­ter the 19th Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in the au­tumn.

“The econ­omy will bot­tom out this year and re­gain strong growth mo­men­tum in 2018 and 2019, and pos­si­bly rise above 7 per­cent,” he said.

Stephen Roach, se­nior fel­low at Yale Univer­sity’s Jack­son In­sti­tute for Global Af­fairs and one of the most re­spected China ob­servers in the West, also says the China econ­omy is prov­ing all the doom-mon­gers wrong and is show­ing “im­pres­sive re­silience”.

“(The neg­a­tive forces) 615,000 grad­u­ates regis­tered to start their own busi­nesses.

More than 100,000 col­lege grad­u­ates worked as vil­lage of­fi­cers, or cun­guan, in the coun­try­side.

Rather than swarm­ing into megac­i­ties such as Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Guangzhou, more stu­dents want to start their ca­reers in sec­ond-tier cities, in­clud­ing pro­vin­cial cap­i­tals and coastal cities, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent have been more than off­set by an im­prov­ing global cli­mate and the at­ten­dant im­pe­tus to Chi­nese ex­ports, as well as the on­go­ing struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion of an in­creas­ingly con­sumer-led growth dynamic,” he said.

The prob­lem with an­a­lyz­ing the econ­omy is that it is so unique in terms of scale and also its com­bi­na­tion of State con­trol along­side a dynamic pri­vate sec­tor.

No other econ­omy got this large with­out fully open cap­i­tal mar­kets.

Yet there is in­creas­ing con­fi­dence that many of the re­forms put in place over the past five years are be­gin­ning to pro­duce sig­nif­i­cant re­sults.

There is also much an­tic­i­pa­tion about a deeper re­form agenda af­ter the au­tumn meeting.

The ghosts of my own trip to Guang­dong grad­u­ally seem to be be­ing ex­or­cized. Global de­mand is pick­ing up and China is rapidly de­vel­op­ing a new growth mo­men­tum of its own. The nar­ra­tive is changing.

Con­tact the writer at an­drew­moody@ chi­nadaily.com.cn sur­vey con­ducted by Zhaopin, one of China’s lead­ing re­cruit­ment web­sites.

YU HAIYANG / CHINA NEWS SER­VICE

Mas­sage chairs pro­vide some com­fort for two women, de­spite the at­ten­tions of a gun-tot­ing mall in Shenyang, Liaon­ing prov­ince. stormtrooper, in a shop­ping

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