Commentary: China doubters risk ending up losers

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-07 19:34:46|Editor: zh
Video PlayerClose

By Xinhua writer Zhang Zhongkai

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China's adjustment of its GDP growth target this year has, unsurprisingly, become the latest "evidence" for China skeptics to talk up a potential crash landing, property bubble bursting and financial crisis.

However, history will show that the naysaying is nothing but a bunch of false alarms, and investors bearish on China will miss many, many opportunities offered by the world's largest developing economy.

Yes, China's economy has slowed and is facing headwinds. The country's GDP expanded 6.6 percent last year, and the growth target is set at 6-6.5 percent for 2019. China faces "a graver and more complicated environment as well as risks and challenges" this year, according to the government work report delivered Tuesday.

But the lenses of the doubters are out of focus, fixated on the challenges and ignoring the upsides.

A slower headline GDP number doesn't tell the bigger picture -- a faster rebalancing economy driven more by consumption than by exports and investment. An overblown enumeration of China's challenges fail to take into account the nation's sound economic fundamentals and the government's powerful policy arsenal.

Far from a hard landing, the Chinese economy is actually in the midst of a positive and opportunity-rich transformation towards becoming a rising innovator and booming consumer.

Surely, China is gradually losing its edge in low-cost workforce as labor salaries and welfare increase, but nurturing policies and growing investment on research and development in advanced manufacturing sectors such as robotics and new energy vehicles offer a bigger, tastier pie for overseas firms and investors.

The biggest gold mines are likely to be found in the burgeoning service sector, an ever growing contributor to China's economic expansion in recent years. Finance, education, elderly care, medicine, to name but a few, are in big demand thanks to the increasingly affluent population who crave better products and experiences.

China held the first international import expo in Shanghai last November, attracting over 3,600 enterprises and nailing deals worth 57.8 billion U.S. dollars, indicative of the country's ballooning import market.

Ask any multinational firm whether they will continue to invest in China, the answer is rarely no, as they simply cannot afford to overlook a market with an expanding talent pool and logistics network as well as the world's largest middle-income and online communities.

The negative list outlining industries off-limits to foreign investors will be further shortened and wholly foreign funded firms will be allowed to operate in more sectors, according to the government work report.

Concerns over market access and intellectual property rights protection will ease gradually. The ongoing legislative session will review a unified foreign investment law, further creating abundant opportunities for global investors who are prepared to secure a place in the world's second largest economy.

The Chinese economy have proved doomsayers wrong for decades and that will continue. The Chinese market has benefited global investors for about 40 years, and more opening-up policies are sure to share fatter dividends. China doubters are risking ending up as losers.