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Economists discuss future of nation's economic growth

Updated: 2011-06-21 10:45

By Zhang Yuwei (China Daily)

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Economists discuss future of nation's economic growth


NEW YORK - China's rise and economic growth was a central topic among global business leaders at the two-day New York Forum held in Manhattan on Monday.

The event gathered more than 700 top CEOs, financiers, and government officials in the United States, Europe, China, Latin America and Africa to discuss economic growth issues.

While more than half of the participants in the conference believed that China will overtake the US and become the largest economy in 20 years, Chinese experts think China's economic development hasn't reached its full potential.

Feng Lun, chairman of Beijing-based real estate firm Vantone Group, said that China is still in its early stages of development with a lot of uncertainties.

"I don't think a 'Chinese model' really exists because (China's economic development) is still young. And when it is young, it is hard to define a model. The room for (economic) growth is there," Feng said.

He added that the conference is a good platform for Chinese business people to become more familiar with the US. He added that what US experts said during the event's panels paints a different picture from how these experts are portrayed by the Chinese media.

"They seem to understand China a lot better than we expected," Feng said.

Echoing Feng's point, Wang Shi, chairman of Shenzhen-based Vanke Group, China's largest residential real estate developer, said being big isn't necessarily a good thing.

"The real challenge ahead is how China (and its economic growth) can connect to the international standard, or the standard set by industrial nations," Wang said.

Liang Xinjun, vice-chairman and CEO of Fosun International, said China is shifting from manufacturing to a market based on consumption.

"Of course China faces challenges (in its economy) but compared with other markets, China has huge potential," Liang said.

American experts at the forum shared their perspectives on China's rise and economic development and highlighted challenges China faces.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, thinks that China's problems include inflation as well as labor and policy issues.

"They have a lot of stresses they will have to deal with. It's not going to be a straight line. The dollar has declined in an orderly way. It makes sense where it is, and needs to continue to depreciate against developing economies," Zandi said.

Edmund Phelps, an American economist and a Nobel Memorial Prize winner in 2006, said the key issue about China now is what the next stage will be and "an innovative economy" is what the country should focus on.

Richard Attias, founder of the New York Forum, said that in his recent trip in China to promote the forum and meet with business leaders, he was impressed by China's growing entrepreneurship.

The conference brought together nearly 30 Chinese entrepreneurs to exchange ideas with their global counterparts and discuss potential investment opportunities.

Zhu Changning, a participant from Suzhou in East China, said China should improve its service industry to create more opportunities for both domestic and foreign companies.

Long Yongtu, China's former chief negotiator with the World Trade Organization, said that finance industry, for example, is mostly monopolized by State-owned financial services and institutions. "Chinese companies are trying to break this kind of monopoly and foreign investors are trying to get into these monopolized sectors."

China Daily


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