The Future of Asia 2012

Future Unknown For Xi Jinping's China: Panel

Thursday, May 23, 2013

TOKYO(Nikkei)--Xi Jinping, the new Chinese president, faces multiple challenges as his country reforms its economic model in an age of unprecedented information sharing, panelists argued Thursday at the 19th International Conference on The Future of Asia in Tokyo.

"For the past 20 years, Chinese leaders have followed development models initiated by Deng Xiaoping" said Zhu Jianrong, professor at Toyo Gakuen University. The rise of the Internet, increasing use of cellphones, and generational and economic changes mean "China needs to follow a new development model."

"Economic problems that had been swept under the carpet in China surfaced after the Lehman Brothers collapse," argued Takamoto Suzuki, senior economist at Marubeni Research Institute. Structural problems such as excessive production capacity in industries and declining youth population are today well known. "China is in a transition period from high economic growth to moderate growth," he said.

Xiao Minjie, an economist, said it will take time to solve the structural problems. He argued that Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will play a key role in the new government's economic policy. While former leaders tended to resort to public spending to prop up the economy, "Li will probably leave markets to carry out structural reforms," he said.

The discussion was moderated by Yuji Miyamoto, a former Japanese ambassador to China.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.