China's major economic indicators entered positive territory in the third quarter of this year, showing the country's Covid-19 prevention and control measures and economic recovery remain at the forefront among the world's major economies. Amid a landscape of doom and gloom as the pandemic continues, China's early economic recovery shines a ray of light on the global economy.
In the first three quarters, China has embraced its best quarterly economic performance of the year, rendering a 0.7-per cent year-on-year expansion for the first nine months as the first major economy to return to growth following the economic fallout of Covid-19.
Other major indicators showed across-the-board improvements, with the country's industrial output rising 5.8 per cent and retail sales reporting their first quarterly expansion, up 0.9 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter. This marks a striking rebound from a 6.8-per cent contraction in the first quarter when the virus took its drastic toll.
With the outbreak gradually under control, the economy clawed back growth and notched a 3.2 per cent growth in the second quarter. And then the third quarter saw a 4.9 per cent year-on-year growth.
It is worth mentioning that the overall foreign trade of China in the first three quarters outperformed expectations, with exports adding up to US$1.89 trillion and imports reaching US$1.54 trillion. As China is taking steady steps to further open up its domestic market and expand imports, total import into China is estimated to top US$22 trillion in the coming decade.
China has a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group that exceeds 400 million. The vastly huge China market is the most promising in the world. Therefore, it is forecast by some economists that China is likely to overtake the US as the world’s largest importer and consumer market within five years.
As the global economy faces an uphill battle amid the pandemic, the strong resilience and vitality of Chinese economy is a positive impulse for the world economy and will have spillover effects on the rest of the world. China's stable development will enable it to contribute more to the world development agenda from the following three aspects:
First, China’s growth will benefit the countries, especially BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) countries that are closely connected to the Chinese economy through the global supply chain. China’s pivotal role in the global supply chain has proven remarkably durable in the pandemic. China's success in shaking off the pandemic and keeping factories operating has strengthened China's role in global value chains and is benefiting the world. China has been particularly playing a key role in producing much-needed supplies in the global anti-pandemic fight, allowing countries worldwide to have access to adequate, affordable and quality commodities during the pandemic.
In the future, China will streamline and upgrade its entire industrial chain by making sector-specific strategic plans for supply chains in a targeted approach, according to the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's development proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. Building on its industrial advantages, China will foster emerging industrial chains, push the high-end, smart and green development of traditional industries, and boost service-oriented manufacturing. As the international industrial cooperation between China and the rest of the world is enhanced, more secure and reliable industrial and supply chains will be built to meet different needs for people all around the world.
Second, China’s expanded domestic consumption and further opening-up will power and accelerate global economic recovery and growth. Thanks to the successful control of the pandemic, the growth of consumption scenarios and demand for offline services in China are accelerating, and residents' consumption capacity is being steadily restored.
China has recently pledged to establish a "dual circulation" development pattern, in which domestic and foreign markets complement and reinforce each another, with the domestic market as the mainstay. It aims to build resilience with improved domestic development and a wider opening up against external headwinds. With a vast market of 1.4 billion people, China's expanded domestic consumption will improve the overall global demand.
Meanwhile, China is taking various measures to expand opening up, such as relaxing market access for foreign investment, making institutional changes to accelerate the improvement of the foreign-investment promotion, protection and service system and constructing pilot free trade zones in different areas. Further opening-up will allow China to share the fruits of its reform with other countries.
Third, China’s advanced development of the digital economy offers new opportunities for global companies to grow their business with China. China is one of the world’s largest investors and adopters of digital technologies, and is home to one-third of the world’s unicorns. China has the scale to drive rapid commercialisation of digital business models, and has the advantage of a very large home market of consumers who are young and eager to embrace digital in all its forms.
The government is actively encouraging digital innovation and entrepreneurship by giving companies room to experiment and offering support as an investor, developer, and consumer of new technologies. China’s New Infrastructure Initiative, which encourages investment into sectors including mobile networks, industrial internet, data centres and artificial intelligence, is expected to further improve its digital infrastructure and facilitate business activities, and offer new opportunities for global companies to grow their business with China. China’s digital transformation is already having a profound impact on its own economy and will have an increasing influence on the world.
China and Bangladesh are making joint efforts to fight Covid-19 and stepping up the strategic partnership of cooperation. As important partners for development, we have been deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and maintaining a good relationship in international affairs. Now China has made major strategic gains through getting the pandemic under control, and the Chinese economy is steadily picking up, so China is well-prepared to turn its market into a market for the world, shared by all and accessible to all.
With the second wave of pandemic taking a serious turn, it is reported by some media that the exports of Bangladesh to the traditional export destinations are facing some difficulties again. As a good friend and partner, China is always willing to explore more efficient ways to connect its domestic market with the Bangladeshi market, and it is always Chinese consumers’ wish to see more products made in Bangladesh come to China.
Nowadays, the world is experiencing the most profound changes in a century, exacerbated even further by the raging pandemic. It is my sincere hope that China and Bangladesh will join hands to prevail over the difficulties and write more splendid chapters of China-Bangladesh win-win cooperation.
Li Jiming is the Ambassador of China to Bangladesh.