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British see Xi's new era as a win-win scenario

By CECILY LIU | China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-20 05:19

China will make even more of a contribution to the betterment of mankind as it enters its new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics while also comprehensively creating a more-prosperous society, British business leaders said.

They noted that the United Kingdom will be well placed to benefit from fresh opportunities as China enters this new stage, with strengthened bilateral engagement providing fresh impetus for Britain's growth as it struggles amid the uncertainty of leaving the European Union.

"The world's growth is to continue to come from China and the Belt and Road countries," said Stephen Perry, chairman of trade association The 48 Group Club. "The UK needs to align with this or face stagnation."

Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising company WPP, said President Xi Jinping's vision, which was clearly detailed in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, will help Chinese people live better lives while the country's strong consumption power will create new opportunities for international companies.

Perry added that Xi's vision also reflects a sea change in global leadership ideology. Unlike Western nations that traditionally grow into a dominating empire as their economic influence increases, China, as a "great modern socialist country", seeks to share benefits and development with other nations.

"China, using its moral compass, based on its history and philosophies, has developed a new approach, to build a multipolar world that combines the power of all nations toward a community of shared interest, and economic development, based on sharing wealth and combating poverty together," Perry said.

Brexit is at the top of the mind of corporations doing business in Europe, Sorrel said, but "the next 1 billion consumers won't come from Western Europe or North America," Sorrell said. "As China continues along its trajectory to surpass the US as the world's leading economy, I expect trade relations between Britain and China to improve further."

Xi's vision set out China's future strategic development path.

The 19th CPC National Congress proclaimed that China will open its economy, promote cooperation in countries impacted by the Belt and Road Initiative and adhere to the principles of extensive consultation, joint efforts and shared benefits.

Within the context of this new era, Xi outlined a two-step approach to comprehensively build a prosperous society. China will basically realize socialist modernization in the first stage, from 2020 to 2035, before developing China into a "great modern socialist country" that is "prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful" after another 15 years.

Jinny Yan, chief China economist at ICBC Standard Bank, said it is crucial that the right incentives are in place to promote investment in education and innovation in order to realize Xi's vision to build China into a modern socialist country.

Yan said the new era also reflects Xi's intention to depict China's changing role within the global economy, from the factory floor of low-value goods to a manufacturing hub of high-value-added goods and a mass-consumption nation.

She added that the Belt and Road Initiative's vision of creating global connectivity is one crucial reflection of this changing role and that China's focus on growing innovation and education makes the UK a good partner to help it build such an economy.

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