China’s economy is facing many problems that are cyclical and also structural. Some economists believe China reached the Lewis Turning Point six years ago, where the growth benefits of rural-to-urban migration dried up and wage costs started to escalate. The growth of the Chinese economy relied very much on its cheap labor—a competitive advantage that has been exhausted. Simply put, “China has come to the end of the period of easy gains in GDP.” It faces two possible paths ahead: the hard road of structural reform and painful consolidation, and the easy road of fiscal and monetary stimulus leading inevitably to further problems along the way.
The heady days of double-digit economic growth rates are now history in China, and even achieving 7-7.5% growth is unthinkable. The stock market has been on a roller coaster ride. The Renminbi has fallen dramatically and the trade numbers are down too. Li Wei, Professor of Economics at CKGSB, feels that to solve this China must implement structural reform. The downside: it will be painful. The upside: the Chinese economy will be better off in the long run.
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