Economy & Business Fiscal and Structural Reform International Markets Macroeconomics
Issue Brief August 7, 2023

China Pathfinder: Will sluggish growth trigger green shoots of reform?

By GeoEconomics Center and Rhodium Group

In November 2013, Xi Jinping, in his first leadership year, convened a plenary Communist Party economic meeting and unveiled an ambitious reform plan (the so-called 60 Decisions) that included giving a “decisive role” to markets and pruning back the state sector. Nearing the 10th anniversary of the Third Plenum and those decisions, most are still to be implemented.

Without those structural reforms, systemic challenges have grown, including crushing local government debt, an ongoing property sector crisis, continued addiction to investment projects for GDP growth, and falling confidence among both domestic consumers and businesses and foreign investors. Leaders and economists hint that macroeconomic stress is necessitating a renewed push for reform.

As of the second quarter of 2023, the rhetoric and pronouncements have started to turn more practical, but concrete actions that have been taken thus far are not sufficient. Must-see improvements include economic research and information openness, no further crackdowns against foreign companies, and improved access to credit for private companies.

View the full issue brief below

The China Pathfinder Project

China is a global economic powerhouse, but its system remains opaque. Policymakers and financial experts disagree on basic facts about what is happening inside the country. To create a shared language for understanding the Chinese economy, the China Pathfinder project scores China and other open market economies across six key areas and presents an objective picture of China relative to the world.

At the intersection of economics, finance, and foreign policy, the GeoEconomics Center is a translation hub with the goal of helping shape a better global economic future.

Image: Workers in an automoble factory in Beijing, China.