China’s economy has averaged about 10% annual growth year over year for the past four decades. It’s undoubtedly the biggest economic success story of our lifetime, but how long can that last?
Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of the Shanghai-based China Market Research Group, sits down with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk China’s post-COVID recovery, Xi’s crackdown on the private sector, and why the last year has turned him from a bull to a bear on China’s economic outlook.
Annual GDP growth has been on a relative decline since 2010, barring a big jump coming out of the pandemic. Decades of infrastructure investment have left local governments drowning in debt. Almost three years of zero-COVID politics ground China’s economy to a halt. Youth unemployment is surging to record highs and expected to keep climbing.
At the same time, President Xi Jinping is moving China away from the pro-investment policies of his predecessors in favor of ideological and national security priorities. But public support for China’s Communist Party is starting to show cracks, especially among citizens in wealthy cities who experienced the brunt of China’s brutal zero-COVID policies.
Can communist ideology mixed with capitalist ambition sustain growth into the future? Is Xi setting up China for another 4 decades of economic success? And what do China’s citizens make of its return to socialist roots?