World Insights: Business leaders at Davos optimistic about Chinese economy

This photo taken on Jan. 15, 2023 shows the logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Lian Yi)

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- In the face of a volatile global economy, decades-high inflation and geopolitical conflict, the prospects for Chinese economic growth have become a hot topic here at the ongoing annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Under the theme "cooperation in a fragmented world," many attendees said they believe that China's optimization of its COVID-19 response will lead to more robust and prosperous growth and contribute to the recovery of the global economy.

Trucks transport containers at the international container terminal of Taizhou Port in Taizhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, Jan. 17, 2023. (Photo by Tang Dehong/Xinhua)

KEY DRIVER

Ahead of the WEF's annual meeting, Saadia Zahidi, WEF managing director, told Xinhua that China's optimization of its COVID-19 response "will be a big boost to global growth and inject optimism back into the medium to the long-term trajectory for the global economy. That's certainly one critical piece."

As the overall epidemiological situation improves and life and work return to normal, China's economic and social vitality will be fully unleashed, injecting more confidence and strength into the global economy.

China's optimized COVID-19 response "means a lot to the global economy and energy. And, of course, to trade between China and the rest of the world. This has a significant impact," Haitham Al Ghais, secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, told Xinhua.

Adjusting the measures is "definitely a major event, and it will be a key driver for growth," said Laura May-Lung, chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.

She added that Chinese consumption and the manufacturing sector are set to pick up, both of which the world needs.

"There is a great deal of hope that China's reopening would lead through 2023 to a better impact on global growth," said International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Vehicles run on Jianguo Road in Chaoyang District of Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 3, 2023. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)

OPTIMISTIC PROSPECTS

China's economy posted steady growth in 2022 despite pressures including COVID-19 resurgences and a complex external environment, with its gross domestic product (GDP) growing 3 percent year on year to a record high of 121.0207 trillion yuan (about 17.95 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2022, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday.

China's foreign trade also remains a driving force for economic growth, with total goods trade exceeding the 40-trillion-yuan mark for the first time, said China's General Administration of Customs on Friday.

Due to China's better-than-expected economic performance and strong resilience, multiple international investment banks and financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Barclays and Natixis, have revised up their forecast for China's economic growth rate in 2023.

Bob Moritz, global chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), told Xinhua that he is bullish on China's economic outlook, given its strong consumer base, technological advancement and top exporter's position.

"China has always been very impressive in dealing with challenges. I'm quite optimistic on the outcome," Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Alkhorayef told Xinhua, adding that China is expected to play an essential role in helping to boost global economic growth.

People dine out in a restaurant in the Nanqiang Street of Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Jan. 11, 2023. (Xinhua/Chen Xinbo)

STRONG GLOBAL CONFIDENCE

Seeing rosy prospects for China's economy, many attendees at the WEF said they are confident in its contribution to the global economic recovery and in providing new market opportunities.

"Having lived in China for almost four years ... I have faith in China. I've always said that when people have doubted the Chinese economy, do not discount China, China will come back," Al Ghais said, adding, "we are very confident in the Chinese economy and the strength of the leadership and the government and the people of China."

Business delegations from China are heading to overseas markets to boost trade and investment, presenting new opportunities for Chinese enterprises and their international partners.

Armed with ample business proposals and investment offers, these delegations are expected to share with the world China's development dividends and a desire to strengthen global cooperation.

Growing consumption and increased investor confidence in China will lead to a consumption rebound and stronger economic growth, Vice President of the New Development Bank Leslie Maasdorp said, adding that with an economy of about 18 trillion dollars, China has an important role to play in the recovery of the global economy.

Maasdorp said China will see robust growth in the tourism and green industries. "With new investment in those sectors, it will also contribute very positively to global growth."  

Editor: Li Shimeng
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