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China 2030


China's economic performance over the past 30 years has been remarkable. It is a unique development success story, providing valuable lessons for other countries seeking to emulate this success—lessons about the importance of adapting to local initiative and interregional competition; integrating with the world; adjusting to new technologies; building world-class infrastructure; and investing heavily in its people.

In the next 15 to 20 years, China is well-positioned to join the ranks of the world’s high-income countries. China’s policy makers are already focused on how to change the country’s growth strategy to respond to the new challenges that will come, and avoid the “middle-income trap.” That is clearly reflected in both the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans, with their focus on quality of growth, structural reforms to harness innovation and economic efficiency, and social inclusion to overcome the rural-urban divide and the income equality gap.

The idea behind this study was developed in 2010, at the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the China–World Bank partnership. To commemorate that milestone, former World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick proposed to Chinese leaders to work jointly on identifying and analyzing China’s medium-term development challenges looking forward to 2030. Together, China and the World Bank would conduct research drawing on lessons from international experience as well as China’s own successful development record, and prepare a strategic framework for reforms that could assist China’s policy making as well as guide future China–World Bank relations. China’s state leaders welcomed and supported the proposal.

This report, China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative Society, represents the results of that work. The research was organized jointly by China’s Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), and the World Bank. The report was written and produced by a joint team from DRC and the World Bank who worked together as equal partners. The team held numerous workshops, prepared several studies and background papers, and forged common ideas as well as bonds of friendship and mutual respect. A preliminary report was discussed at a high-level international conference held on September 3, 2011, at which many Chinese and international experts provided helpful comments and guidance. Building on these comments and additional work commissioned by the team, a conference edition of China 2030 was launched at a meeting in Beijing on February 27, 2012. Since that launch, there has been considerable interest in this joint study both within China and around the world. This final version of China 2030 could further enrich discussions in China and elsewhere, especially in middle-income countries that face similar issues.

The report is based on the strong conviction that China has the potential to become a modern, harmonious, and creative society by 2030.

In order to reach that objective, however, China must change its policy and institutional framework. China’s next phase of development will need to build on its considerable strengths—high savings, plentiful and increasingly skilled labor, and the potential for further urbanization—and capitalize on external opportunities that include continued globalization, the rapid growth of other emerging economies, and promising new technologies. At the same time, China will need to address a number of significant challenges and risks, such as an aging society, rising inequality, a large and growing environmental deficit, and stubborn external imbalances.

The report proposes six strategic directions for China’s new development strategy. First, rethinking the role of the state and the private sector to encourage increased competition in the economy. Second, encouraging innovation and adopting an open innovation system with links to global research and development networks. Third, looking to green development as a significant new growth opportunity. Fourth, promoting equality of opportunity and social protection for all. Fifth, strengthening the fiscal system and improving fiscal sustainability. Sixth, ensuring that China, as an international stakeholder, continues its integration with global markets.

Using the 12th Five Year Plan as a starting point, and the six strategic directions as a policy framework, this report lays out a time frame for and sequencing of reforms that can take China toward its vision for 2030. We hope that it can provide a practical guide to help China’s policy makers successfully navigate this next phase of China’s development journey. We also hope that it will mark the beginning of another period of fruitful partnership between China and the World Bank.

For detailed information, please download the PDF.