In an ever-changing world full of uncertainties, people are in dire need of strong certainty to drive toward a better future.
China's certainty is a mainstay that safeguards world peace and development, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2023 in the southern island province of Hainan.
China will adhere to reform and opening up and innovation-driven development, no matter how the world will change, Li said.
CERTAINTY FOR GLOBAL GROWTH
The global economy has been in choppy waters for quite some time, experiencing shocks from several factors including the pandemic, raging regional conflicts and rising anti-globalization sentiment.
But every cloud has a silver lining, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Emerging and developing Asia remains the best hope and chief driver of global growth. Combined, they would contribute 75 percent to global growth. China and India alone are expected to contribute half of it."
The weighted real GDP growth rate of Asia in 2023 is estimated at 4.5 percent, an increase from 4.2 percent in 2022, according to a report released by the BFA.
China's economic growth is showing strong momentum. In particular, major economic indicators such as consumption and investment continue to improve, and employment and prices are generally stable.
In Hainan, tourists and shoppers crowd duty-free shopping malls and idyllic beaches. In the town of Boao, where the BFA annual conference is being held, policy makers, entrepreneurs and experts are exuding confidence in global economic recovery and exchanging observations on pressing issues of development, security, climate change and AI.
Premier Li reiterated that China has the confidence and ability to advance the Chinese economy to break waves, maintain steady and sustained growth and make greater contribution to world economic development.
China has set a GDP growth target of around 5 percent for 2023. The International Monetary Fund has raised its projection for China's economic growth in 2023 to 5.2 percent. At Boao, forum participants are reassured by China's robust economic pulse.
At the opening ceremony, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, "Post-COVID, we encourage the revival of investment, trade and tourism flows, and look forward to participating in new growth opportunities in China's dynamic economy."
"Chinese economic data is definitely looking better over the past two months. We've seen a real bounce," said Ben Simpfendorfer, a partner at leading international management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.
China's high-quality development brings a more even distribution of wealth and a more sustainable way of growth, said Michele Geraci, former undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. He said China has done very well in making long-term plans for five, 10 and even 25 years.
OPENING UP WIDER
On Thursday, Li pledged to further open up the world's second-largest economy, shoring up the confidence of global investors ready to tap into the country's potential.
"China is opening up wider, and it embraces the outside world while the outside world embraces China," said Andrew Forrest, chairman of Australian iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group.
In terms of establishing huge renewable energy sources, China offers tremendous opportunities to companies like Fortescue that are looking to go green, he said.
China has been increasing the size of the pie, with a large market and a wide range of products, so companies need to have a strategy to sell to or invest in China, Simpfendorfer said.
The country is speeding up the establishment of a unified national market, breaking down market barriers, and accelerating the free flow of goods and resources, thus providing greater convenience for companies to optimize resource allocation, said Ricky Wong, vice-president of KPMG China.
To tackle mounting global issues, efforts should be made to jointly broaden effective ways to achieve solidarity and cooperation, and inject more certainty into global governance.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), for instance, which was proposed by China in 2013, has played a crucial role in boosting economic connections across the globe. At the ongoing BFA, the BRI is again a keenly-discussed topic.
The BRI represents the future of the world, said Paolo Borzatta, a board member of the Italy-based consultancy European House -- Ambrosetti, adding that the BRI is not only an initiative of China or a project of the Chinese government, but also a project of all countries along the route.
Statistics show that over the past decade, 151 countries and 32 international organizations have joined the initiative. It has generated nearly 1 trillion U.S. dollars in investment, established over 3,000 cooperation projects, created some 420,000 jobs in countries along the routes, and helped lift nearly 40 million people out of poverty.
"We welcome China's commitment to continue opening up its economy, and to continue supporting multilateralism and regional cooperation, and we look forward to all parties contributing more actively to regional and global development and prosperity, to benefit Asia and the world," said Lee Hsien Loong.