BEIJING May 28 -- China's economy can maintain a steady growth above 8 percent for a relatively long period because of a stable society, a vast market and ample capital, said Cheng Siwei, an economist and former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
"China's economy can stay in the fast developing track if we work hard and pay enough attention to existing problems," Cheng said at a three-day forum with the theme of "Economic globalization and the choice of Asia: transition, growth and welfare" Wednesday in Shanghai.
"Social stability is crucial to economic development while China has a market of 1.3 billion people, which creates a huge consumption power," said Cheng. "Meanwhile, China's foreign reserves have reached US$1.68 trillion, and it has built up an ample capital pool."
China also beefed up its efforts to improve education and expand its coverage, which paved the way for sustainable economic development, he said, but added that there were problems China could not afford to ignore.
One of them was the yawning gap between the rich and the poor. The income of urban residents has tripled that of rural households while the purchasing power in cities was four times larger than that in rural areas.
China faced increasing pressure to protect the environment and in securing raw materials and resources for its economy. It also lacks a large pool of senior professionals in finance and management.
"For example, we buy a lot of the United States treasury bonds. It means appointing them (US bond managers) to manage our assets and we only gained a little bit of interest," said Cheng. "We are trying to work on such problems."
Cheng estimated China's per capita GDP can reach US$3,000 by 2010, US$5,000 by 2020 and US$10,000 by 2049, given its economic expansion and a stronger yuan.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)