The Future of China’s Growth

BEIJING – The slowdown of China’s economy has captured the headlines in recent weeks. Whether it is a permanent or temporary adjustment, the Chinese authorities have much work to do in laying the groundwork for strong economic performance in the medium and long term.

Despite extraordinary growth since the start of its transition to a market economy in 1979, China is facing serious challenges simultaneously: rising inequality, large and growing levels of environmental degradation, stubborn external imbalances, and an aging society.

Fortunately, China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) recognizes the need to deepen market-oriented reform, change the country’s development model, and focus on the quality of growth, structural reforms, and social inclusion to overcome the rural-urban divide and stem the rise in income inequality. In line with this bold, long-term approach, a new report, China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society, proposes reforms that my country needs to develop a mature, well-functioning market economy by 2030.

The report is the result of a longstanding China-World Bank partnership. Commemorating the 30th anniversary of China’s membership, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick proposed to the country’s leaders a joint effort to identify and analyze China’s medium-term development challenges. China 2030 calls for structural reforms that would redefine the role of government, overhaul state-owned enterprises and banks, develop the private sector, promote competition, and deepen liberalization of the land, labor, and financial markets.