On Friday the 17th of February the Confucius Institute of the University of Adelaide held the first China Briefing for 2017.
Featuring a talk from Shandong University's Professor Yue Qiao and Professor Christopher Findlay from the University of Adelaide's School of Professions, the briefing saw the 160 seat theatre filled almost to capacity with around 140 in attendance.
Covering the topic "China's New Economic Plan and its Impacts on the Global Economy", Professor Qiao spoke at length on the rapid changes the Chinese economy has gone through over the last four decades, highlighting specifically the huge changes in the last 10 years, including a greater than 300% average wage growth from 2005-2014. The era of cheap wages in China is certainly over, and the affects are far reaching!
Professor Findlay spoke about the three competing priorities for China's continuing economic improvement, ‘Economy', ‘Equity' and ‘Environment', and how the Chinese Government has began signalling a move away from simple GDP growth as the target of their five year plans. Instead, he spoke of the Chinese Government creating targets that take into account the environment and spread the benefits of growth to more people as they re-balance away from capital investment as the primary driver of growth.
Certainly however challenges abound; Professor Qiao spoke of the challenges the Chinese central government faces when trying to push regional governments to follow their direction, flagging tax reform as one way to help meet this challenge of conflicting incentives between regional and central governments. Professor Findlay spoke on the bargain that the Chinese Government has made with their citizens and how income growth (at around 6.5% p.a.) was part of that: Should growth fall much below that level, there is a high likelihood that the Government will be tempted to make large capital investments to prop up growth, avoiding the shift in the Chinese economy necessary to increase productivity, and ensure long term growth.
The Confucius Institute's China Briefings provide up to date knowledge of the most recent developments in China's political, economic and cultural spheres that are of the most concern to the Australian public. This program brings top experts in the field to South Australian audiences to present speeches, talks or forums, free to the public.
Pro Vice Chancellor (International), Professor Nancy Cromar introduces the evening’s proceedings
Briefing Chair Professor Mobo Gao looks on while Professor Findlay and Professor Qiao answer questions from the audience
Written by: Luke Giles
Edited by: Xie Tingting