After 35 years of unprecedented growth, China’s once successful growth model is quickly running out of steam. Predicated on investment in fixed assets, such as infrastructure, and, to a lesser extent, reliance on exports, the economy is delivering diminishing returns to the Chinese people, slowing down, and, without deep and enduring structural reform, faces an uncertain future. Establishing a new, and more sustainable, growth model is perhaps the most intense challenge now facing the administration of President Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile, foreign governments and businesses, from Washington to Brussels and beyond, have begun to take a harder line on China’s trade, currency, investment, and corporate governance practices. The US and Europe, in particular, are pushing Beijing hard for major changes. And they are doing at precisely the moment that leading international companies face growing restrictions and new competitive dynamics in China. These include regulatory, industrial policies, and the nurturing of indigenous Chinese competitors.
Drawing on 30 years of experience with China, Evan Feigenbaum offers a comprehensive look at China’s political, economic, and foreign policy and investment future. He walks audiences through China’s growth story, its emerging challenges, Xi Jinping’s agenda, and the political and economic risks that will affect the country’s future — and the opportunities and challenges for international investors and firms.
To achieve a more broad-based prosperity—the kind of wealth that separates advanced economies from developing countries—China will need to once again embrace bold change. Bluntly put, China confronts severe headwinds that are likely to jeopardize the remarkable gains of recent decades unless the government makes serious policy and institutional changes. Longstanding resource-intensive and labor-intensive growth looks increasingly untenable as environmental degradation, resource constraints, labor shortages, and demographics converge to force Beijing to focus not just on whether the economy grows but how it grows.
Economic and institutional reform of this magnitude and complexity is not an event, but rather a process. It is the work of years, and potentially of a generation.
Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the prospects for significant and enduring reforms? Can the market henceforth play a more decisive role in China? What will be the relationship between the Chinese government and the market? What role will various parts of the Chinese government play in shaping change? And what are the opporutnies and challenges that could face your business in the decade ahead?
This talk offers a comprehensive look at China’s political and economic past, present, and future.