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10 keywords for China's economy in 2017

  • January 02, 2018

As the year 2017 draws to an end, let's take a look at 10 keywords for China's economy this year.

1 Xiongan New Area

On April 1, the central government announced it would develop Xiongan New Area in North China’s Hebei province, about 100 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing. It will be the third national special economic zone after Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Shanghai Pudong New Area.

According to a circular issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, the move will help phase out non-capital functions from Beijing, explore a new model of optimized development in densely-populated areas, and restructure the urban layout in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

The new area will cover around 100 square km initially and will be expanded to 200 square km in mid-term and about 2,000 square km in the long-term.

2 C919's maiden flight

China's homegrown largest passenger jet C919 took to the sky on May 5. The orders for C919 reached 785 aircraft by Dec 6.

3 Real estate market

China has carried out a series of measures to boost home rental market, and is building a long-term mechanism to maintain stability in the property market.
In July, Chinese city Guangzhou announced move to provide tenants equal rights to educational resources as homeowners.

In the same month, China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other eight government departments issued a notice that said measures will be taken in cities with net population inflows, including increasing rental housing supplies and setting up a government-backed home rental service platform.

In September, Beijing authorities announced a new rental policy to speed up development of home rental market.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Xi Jinping reiterated in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress that "houses are for living in", which has set the tone for China's housing development, and a variety of housing reforms and measures are expected to be rolled out over the next five years.

In his report, Xi once again said that housing is not for speculation and the country will accelerate the building of a rental market in the country.

China will move faster to put in place a housing system that ensures supply through multiple sources, provides housing support through multiple channels, and encourages both housing purchases and renting in 2018, according to a statement released after the annual Central Economic Work Conference.

4 AI guideline

On May 27, AlphaGo, DeepMind's artificial intelligence Go-playing program, defeated world's top-ranked player Ke Jie for the third consecutive game between them.

In July, the State Council unveiled a plan calling for developing technology, research and educational resources in AI to achieve major breakthroughs by 2025 and make China an AI innovation center by 2030.

In December, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology unveiled a three-year plan to boost the application of AI in the automobile, robotics, healthcare and other sectors, in its latest push to upgrade China's real economy.

5 Financial risks

Strengthening supervision to prevent systemic financial risks was highlighted on many important occasions in China this year, including the National Financial Work Conference, Xi's report to the 19th CPC National Congress, and the Central Economic Work Conference.

In June, a joint notice published by China's Banking Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said, financial institutions not registered or authorized by regulators are now banned from offering loans on campus, and existing online lenders must withdraw from the market.

In September, seven government departments including China's central bank asked individuals and organizations were banned from raising funds through initial coin offerings (ICOs means a token-based virtual currencies fundraising scheme), and the individuals and organizations that have raised funds through ICOs are required to return them to the investors.

In December, China's central bank issued a comprehensive regulatory notice, requiring that financial institutions without proper licenses must be strictly banned from the business and that financial firms must not sell micro-loan products at illegal interest rates.

According to the notice, online peer-to-peer lending platforms are banned from offering loans to students and borrowers who do not have financial resources to pay back debts, and they are also prohibited from offering loans for property down payment.

6 Going global

On June 21, global equity indexes provider MSCI said that beginning in June 2018 it will include China A-shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets (EM) Index and the MSCI ACWI Index.

On July 3, the Bond Connect platform between Chinese mainland and Hong Kong stated to run. At initial stage, qualified outbound investors can trade bonds on the mainland interbank bond market, including treasury bonds, local-government bonds, policy bank bonds, commercial bank bonds, corporate bonds and asset-backed securities.

7 Sharing economy

In July, the National Development and Reform Commission and other seven government departments issued guidelines to encourage innovation in sharing while regulating the sector in a tolerant and prudent manner.

More sophisticated regulations will govern different sharing sectors, reduce barriers to market entry and guard against risk.

There will be well-defined rights and responsibilities for stakeholders and third-party platforms will address consumer complaints.

The government expects orderly competition and will regulate monopolies. Competitive firms will receive support in expanding overseas.

China will open more government and public data to the market to improve efficiency. Specific employment and taxation policies will be developed to assure the sharing economy's growth.

8 SOEs reform

In May, China's Cabinet released a guideline to clarify relations between investors, the board of directors, managers and the board of supervisors at State firms, with detailed clarifications of their obligations and responsibilities.

China hopes to boost the efficiency of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), make them operate in accordance with market principles and assume responsibility for their own profits, losses and risks, according to the guideline, which sets a goal of basically completing the reforms by 2017.

On August 16, China Unicom announced its listed arm China United Network Communications Ltd plans to bring in private investment mainly by issuing shares for companies including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, China Life, JD and Suning.

Meng Wei, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China has included another 31 SOEs in the third round of mixed-ownership reform program.

9 Modern socialist future

According to Xi's report to the 19th CPC National Congress, the CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the 21st century to transform China into a great, modern socialist country.

In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, the CPC will build on the foundation created by the establishment of a moderately prosperous society to basically realize socialist modernization.

In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the CPC will, having basically achieved modernization, develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.

10 High-quality development

The Central Economic Work Conference concluded on Dec 20.

According to the conference, as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, China's economy development also has entered the new era.

At the present stage, the basic feature of China's economic development is the transition from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, said a statement released after the conference.

Realizing high-quality development is a must for sustaining healthy and stable economic development and adapting to changed principal contradiction of the Chinese society, said the statement.

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