TIANJIN — Despite economic uncertainties at home and abroad, business leaders, policymakers and industry experts are optimistic about China’s economy as they gather for the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2018, also known as Summer Davos.
“China has been making heavy investment in science and technology, striving to achieve leapfrog development. Many countries expect China to assume leadership and inspire them in exploring their own development roads,” said David Aikman, chief representative officer of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) China Office, at the opening plenum of the Summer Davos in Tianjin on Sept 19.
China’s GDP expanded 6.8 percent in the first half of the year, above the government’s annual target of around 6.5 percent. Growth has remained between 6.7 percent and 6.9 percent for 12 consecutive quarters, highlighting its economic resilience.
In an interview with Xinhua, Klaus Schwab, WEF’s founder and executive chairman, said that there had always been many critics and pessimists who forecast that China’s economic growth would come to an end, but they turned out to be wrong.
“I remain optimistic despite the world economy facing many challenges, such as trade friction, debt problems and even the impact of global warming,” he said.
On Sept 19, the meeting started with sessions discussing China’s leadership in the electric vehicle sector and green development, and how China’s practice can inspire other countries to follow suit.
Statistics from the WEF show that China accounts for roughly half of electric vehicles produced worldwide.
“A decade ago, China declared that it wanted to reduce its environmental footprint and fight pollution. Now there are over 2 million electric vehicles on Chinese roads, saving around 10 million barrels of oil,” said Wan Gang, president of the China Association for Science and Technology, at an interactive panel called “Scaling up electric mobility.”
“The country has been through a period of fast, high-polluting growth. But that’s over. China is now making transition to a higher value, lower carbon economy,” said Isabel Hilton, editor of Chinadialogue, at the session “China’s green leadership.”
Established by the WEF in 2007, the Summer Davos Forum is held annually in China, alternating between the two port cities of Tianjin and Dalian.
Themed “Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the three-day event has drawn more than 2,000 politicians, businesspeople, scholars and media representatives to discuss issues such as financial risk prevention, artificial intelligence, future jobs and network safety.