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With an imminent leadership transition amidst an economic slowdown, China is at a turning point. The resolve of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao's successors to continue with political, macro-economic and social reforms will be tested.
China's rapid economic growth of the past decade has come at a cost - widening wealth disparities, environmental challenges and social discontent. Can the next generation of leaders realise the potential of President Hu's legacy by passing the reforms China needs for the continuation of its economic ascendancy, prosperity and social harmony?
This 10Minutes explores the policy focus in Premier Wen's final address delivered at the annual session of the Congress and what it means for China's businesses, people, environmental future and investors.
- China's decision to lower its GDP growth target will provide its new generation of leaders the flexibility they need to transition the economy towards a domestic consumption focus.
- With greater clarity on the government's investment priorities, foreign investors have more incentive to invest in key industries such as advanced manufacturing, energy saving and environmental protection, and modern services.
- Companies in China will need to consider ways to deal with tightened regulation on energy conservation and environmental protection.
- Programmes to encourage migrant workers to relocate to small and medium sized cities could face challenges from larger-sized cities, which offer more job opportunities and career development prospects.
- Monopolised sectors, if deregulated, will grant valuable growth opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises, boosting services growth and increasing employment opportunities.
- Premier Wen's new commitment to increase investment in education will test the government's effectiveness in allocating resources to all tiers of education, nationally.