China sets ambitious economic growth target of ‘around 5%’ for 2024, vows to ‘transform’ economy

China sets ambitious economic growth target of ‘around 5%’ for 2024, vows to ‘transform’ economy

China has set forth an ambitious economic target for 2024, aiming for a growth rate of “around 5%,” as announced by Premier Li Qiang at the National People’s Congress (NPC). This figure closely mirrors last year’s growth target and is part of a broader strategy to revamp the nation’s growth model amidst various challenges.

Premier Li emphasized the paramount importance of stability, asserting that it forms the foundation for all endeavors. He underscored the necessity of transforming the growth model, focusing on structural adjustments, quality enhancement, and performance improvement.

However, China’s economic ambitions are juxtaposed against a backdrop of challenges, including issues in the property sector, deflationary pressures, foreign capital outflows, stock market volatility, and a declining birth rate. These challenges have led to concerns about economic stability and growth prospects.

Despite the economic uncertainties, China remains committed to bolstering its defense capabilities. The country unveiled a 7.2% increase in its military budget for 2024, reaching 1.67 trillion yuan ($230.6 billion). This consistent growth in military spending reflects China’s strategic priorities amid geopolitical tensions and evolving security threats.

Investors expressed disappointment over the lack of major stimulus measures, leading to market downturns. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong experienced a significant decline, reflecting investor concerns about the economic outlook.

While China’s economic targets are ambitious, they are not without scrutiny. Some analysts question the reliability of China’s growth figures and express skepticism about the achievability of such targets, especially given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic restructuring efforts.

Premier Li acknowledged the formidable task ahead, recognizing that achieving the growth targets will be arduous. He stressed the importance of boosting employment, increasing incomes, and mitigating risks to sustain economic momentum.

To address economic challenges, China aims to stabilize and expand consumption while prioritizing spending on key sectors like electronics and new-energy vehicles. The government plans to issue special bonds to fund infrastructure projects and stimulate economic activity.

Furthermore, China is intensifying its focus on science and technology, with a significant budget increase allocated to this sector. Emphasizing self-reliance, China aims to enhance innovation capacity and leverage technological advancements for national development.

Amidst economic uncertainties and strategic imperatives, China’s leadership faces the delicate task of balancing economic growth, defense priorities, and geopolitical considerations. As the nation navigates these challenges, attention will remain focused on its economic trajectory and strategic responses to emerging threats and opportunities.