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China’s Future: Rebalance, Collapse or Stagnate?


RHG-Standard Chartered Bank

Can China rebalance its economy? The answer is critical for China and the world economy, and far from clear. With an investment-heavy model, China has produced an enviable manufacturing base and breathtaking urbanization. But in 2012 and beyond, China’s prospects depend increasingly on other engines not yet in gear: services both for consumers and within manufacturing need to take the baton of growth, and it is not clear that such a transition is happening.

While Beijing’s long-term planning abilities amaze some observers, others point to an inability to push through reforms that threaten special interests. Huge wealth inequalities and doubts about creating a big enough middle class are fueling intense debate in Beijing — right in the midst of a leadership transition.

To discuss the potent mix of growth and pitfalls in today’s China, Standard Chartered Bank and Rhodium Group are hosting a private seminar and discussion with three speakers specialized in these issues. Professor Cai Fang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences will discuss the thinking behind the 12th Fifth Year Plan he helped draft, and what milestones China’s leaders think they must reach to escape the “middle income trap” now feared to be closing in on growth. Stephen Green, Head of Research for Greater China at Standard Chartered, will pinpoint China’s position in its economic cycle and how its policymakers and real economy will respond to the mounting threats to growth. And Daniel Rosen from New York-based Rhodium Group will work through the implications for China’s outlook for Washington and American business interests.

The event, moderated by Financial Times DC bureau chief (and former Beijing bureau chief) Richard McGregor, was attended by a select audience of business executives, investment heads, and China analysts from academia and the press.

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