Fast growth to continue, Xi says
President reassures global investors of a level playing field in China
China will grow relatively quickly for a long time, and its market will be open and fair, President Xi Jinping said on Monday, soothing fears over the Chinese economy.
Meeting more than 30 foreign and domestic business leaders at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013, Xi said China's market potential is huge thanks to the country's rapid agricultural modernization, industrialization and urbanization.
President Xi Jinping shares a light moment during his meeting with business leaders attending the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013 in Boao, Hainan province, on Monday. Liao Pan / China News Service
"China's economy will go upwards instead of downwards for a long time," Xi said.
His remark addresses speculation that China's quick economic growth will be hard to sustain.
"China has a bright economic future, and through its efforts China will maintain a relatively high speed of growth," Xi said.
China's economy has witnessed nearly three decades of double-digit expansion, but GDP growth has been cooling and hit a 13-year low of 7.8 percent in 2012.
Xi said the country needs to focus on improving the quality and efficiency of its economy, featuring green and low-carbon development to achieve economic sustainability.
PepsiCo President Zein Abdalla said he hoped China will continue to open up, encourage foreign companies to invest in areas such as agriculture and green economy, and create a fair environment for competition.
"We fully support and share the Chinese dream and hope to be part of its realization," he said.
Olof Persson, president of AB Volvo and CEO of Volvo Group, said his company is supportive of China's commitment to sustainable development, and hopes to contribute to China's endeavors to protect the environment while pushing forward development in areas such as infrastructure construction.
According to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, 436,800 foreign-funded enterprises were operating in China as of the end of June. Their registered capital has more than doubled over the past decade to hit $1.79 trillion.
China's determination for reform and opening-up is firm, Xi said.
"It is not a problem of whether to open up or not, it is a problem of how to deepen the opening-up. It is now impossible to shut the door. But we also hope that foreign countries also deepen their opening-up to China, and it should be a two-way street."
Xi said China's development benefits the world, and China's win does not mean others will lose or earn less. "It's mutually beneficial," he said.
Many companies at the meeting signaled their willingness to help China's social development.
Andrew Forrest, chairman of Australian miner Fortescue Metals Group, said the growth of his company benefited from selling iron ore to China. His company will increase its investment in China and be more involved in China's social development.
The Japanese business community called for the development of the strategic and mutually beneficial relationship with China and for promoting trade and economic cooperation, according to Koji Miyahara, chairman of Japanese shipping giant Nippon Yusen Kaisha.
For Asia to lead world growth, "it requires building mutual trust and cooperation to realize common development", Miyahara said.
China's promise to build an open and fair market shows its responsibility and commitment to the world, as global protectionism is picking up amid the economic slowdown, said Jiang Yong, a researcher on global economics at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
"It also conveys China's confidence," he said.