On 17 November 2017, Commissioner Xie Feng published articles on South China Morning Post and Hong Kong Economic Journal, in which he stressed that China’s high-quality development will present opportunities for sustained growth; China’s opening-up at higher standards will generate vast investment opportunities; Chinese people’s aspirations for a better life will bring enormous market opportunities; Chinese companies “going global” will bring opportunities for common development; and China’s firm and long-term commitment to “one country, two systems” will bring opportunities for tripartite cooperation among the mainland, Hong Kong, and the Belt and Road countries. The full text of the article is as follows:
Last month, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully convened in Beijing. It was an honor for me to attend the Congress. The Congress ushered in a new era of socialism in China, establishing the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, and drawing the new blueprint of China’s future development. Under the guidance of the Congress, China will turn itself into a great modern socialist country, which will bring historic opportunities to other countries and business community around the world.
First, China’s high-quality development will present opportunities for sustained growth. Our economy has been transforming from fast growth to high quality development. With an improved structure, the economy enjoys the sound basis and driving force for a sustained growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its forecast on China’s economy for a number of times since the beginning of the year. By doing so, the IMF has cast a vote of confidence.
Where does the driving force of China’s economy come from? It is from reform. Under the chairmanship of President Xi Jinping, the Central Leading Group on Comprehensive Reform already convened 38 meetings since its establishment 45 months ago. Altogether, China has adopted 1,500 reform measures over the past five years, or a total of 1,800 days, which equals to about one measure per day, excluding holidays. China will firmly implement the new vision of development which emphasizes innovative, coordinated, green and open development, with fruits shared by all. We will promote supply-side structural reform, and launch a series of substantive reform proposals in areas such as market, fiscal, taxation, financing, investment and state-owned enterprises.
China’s economy will unleash greater dividends, and will serve as the engine and the stabilizing anchor of the global economy. As one proverb goes, “if you want to go fast, walk alone; if you want to go far, walk together”. All countries are welcome to get onboard the express train of China’s development.
Second, China’s opening-up at higher standards will generate vast investment opportunities. Against the rising trade protectionism and anti-globalization trend in the world, the Party Congress sent a clear message of reconfirmation to economic globalization. China will continue to open itself, and promote the international cooperation on Belt and Road. The government will adopt high-standard investment and trade facilitation policies, and implement the pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list across the board.
In addition, we will significantly ease market access, open the service sector wider, and protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign investors. All enterprises registered in China will be treated equally. The business environment in China will be more open, transparent, law-based and predictable. It is estimated that China will attract 600 billion US dollars of foreign direct investment in the next five years.
Third, Chinese people’s aspirations for a better life will bring enormous market opportunities. The principal problem of the Chinese society has evolved into the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. China will increase and improve the mix of its import to better meet people’s needs. According to the retailing giant Alibaba, this year’s Singles’ Day on November 11th witnessed a record online sale of 25.3 billion US dollars. It is estimated that in the next five years, China will import eight trillion US dollars of goods, and over 700 million Chinese tourists will make outbound trips, which will generate enormous business opportunities.
Starting from 2018, China will hold the International Import Expo, which will serve as a platform for global goods to enter China. The first Import Expo will be held from 5 to 10 November next year in Shanghai. Exhibitors from over 100 countries and regions, as well as 150 thousand domestic and foreign buyers are expected to join in the Expo.
Fourth, Chinese companies “going global” will bring opportunities for common development. Despite the declining outflows of global foreign direct investment, China’s overseas direct investment reached a record high of 196 billion US dollars in 2016, registering a year-on-year increase of 34.7% and accounting for 13.5% of the global total. The Chinese-invested enterprises are operating in 190 countries and regions, with a total asset of five trillion US dollars. Ten days ago, Alibaba Group inaugurated its first overseas Electronic World Trade Platform, or eWTP, in the Digital Free Trade Zone of Malaysia. The operation of eWTP will bring the small-and-medium sized enterprises in Malaysia to the world stage.
In “going global”, the Chinese enterprises will bring capital, production capacity, high-tech and development experience to the countries in need. They will cooperate with their local counterparts, and achieve common development by drawing on each other’s strength.
Finally, our firm and long-term commitment to “one country, two systems” will bring opportunities for tripartite cooperation among the mainland, Hong Kong, and the Belt and Road countries. The Report to the Party Congress incorporated the “one country, two systems” into the basic policy on upholding socialism in China in the new era. It also made strategic plans on Hong Kong’s integration into the national development and on the all-round cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland. These messages are in line with the speeches made by President Xi during his visit to Hong Kong last July.
The mainland and Hong Kong may join hands to develop the Belt and Road and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. By bringing together their respective strength, the two sides will be able to provide full-fledged industrial chain, better services and more competitive solutions to countries along the Belt and Road. Recently, I exchanged views with heads of 30 foreign business chambers in Hong Kong. They expressed great interest in participating in the tripartite cooperation among the mainland, Hong Kong and the Belt and Road countries.
The Commissioner’s Office will continue to firmly safeguard the state sovereignty, security and development interests, actively promote Hong Kong’s external exchanges and cooperation, and uphold the lawful rights and interests of Hong Kong compatriots overseas. We will fully mobilize diplomatic resources, and work with more mainland provinces, Hong Kong SAR and the consular corps, business chambers, multinationals and media agencies in the city. Together, we will set up more cooperation platforms, facilitate more practical cooperation projects, and work for win-win outcome by drawing on each other’s strength.
The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will bring valuable opportunities to the world as a whole. Opportunities will be generated from the building of a great modern socialist China, from the firm and long-term commitment to “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong and from the initiatives such as the Belt and Road and the Greater Bay Area. It is our hope that the Chinese and foreign companies will seize these opportunities and explore more from the fast development of the mainland and Hong Kong as well as from their closer integration. Early participation will ensure early harvest.