In his opening address at the 11th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, acknowledged the widespread impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution across all economies, sectors and business models. He stressed the importance of pursuing strategies for inclusive growth to ensure that the negative effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are limited.
“The world is making continued progress against the backdrop of this new economic globalization,” Premier Li told participants. “Never before have we human beings been presented with such opportunities for development. Yet the global economy is not yet strong. But if we are committed, we will prevail.” Warned Li: “If inadequate measures are taken, this can create the problem of a lack of inclusive growth and the challenge of achieving fairness. The lack of inclusive growth will lead to idle workforces and resources.”
Li was positive about the Fourth Industrial Revolution: “The new Industrial Revolution presents greater opportunities for inclusive growth than ever.” He noted that small farmers are now able to connect to markets in big cities. China’s concept of mass entrepreneurship has led to 14,000 newly registered daily. “We have fostered an open platform for mass entrepreneurship,” Li explained. This has not only created an unimaginable number of tailor-made new jobs, but it has also given people the opportunity to change their lives.”
“During the past 30 years of China’s opening, Chinese consumers have been given greater choice,” Li observed. “Economic globalization is bringing benefits to all countries, but countries have to be able to harness the benefits.” Reckoned Li: “Free trade can be the foundation for fair trade. We should take into account each other’s national economic conditions, which would allow us to find win-win solutions.”
The Chinese Premier underscored the importance of China’s contribution to address global warming. “Our climate change fight is required for our own sustainable development.” He said that the government is paying close attention to job creation. “We take employment as a key indicator of the performance of the Chinese economy.” Reporting that China is currently growing at 6.9%, Premier Li asserted that “there will not be a hard landing for the economy.” China has been successful in rebalancing its economy, Li explained. Consumption now contributes 4.6% to economic growth, while the services sector accounts for 1.6%. “Domestic demand has now become a robust pillar of the Chinese economy,” he stated.
Earlier, Chen Qiufa, Governor of Liaoning Province, People’s Republic of China, spoke of how technology and addressing inequality could significantly drive new growth. “Technological change will provide a long-lasting growth driver. By pursuing inclusive growth and scientific development, we will achieve greater progress together.”
In introducing Premier Li, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, identified recent events that have highlighted China as a responsive and responsible leader in the world. He noted China’s resolute leadership at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, President Xi Jinping’s landmark opening address at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, when the president articulated his support for the global world order, China’s convening of the May forum on the Belt and Road Initiative, and finally Premier Li’s recent reiteration of China’s deep commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Schwab also observed that, while many questioned the resilience of the Chinese economy, “All the doubters have been proven wrong.” China has shown the ability to be a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Schwab remarked. He concluded: “In future, it will not be the large fish that eats the small fish, but the fast fish that will eat the slow ones.”
The World Economic Forum’s 11th Annual Meeting of the New Champions is taking place on 27-29 June in Dalian, People’s Republic of China.