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Published: 18:29, October 01, 2023
From inception to innovation: China's remarkable 74-year economic odyssey
By Syed Ali Nawaz Gilani
Published:18:29, October 01, 2023 By Syed Ali Nawaz Gilani

As the People’s Republic of China enjoys its 74th anniversary celebrations, it pledges an unwavering commitment to ushering in a new era of economic openness. Focused on achieving high-quality, innovative, coordinated, and environmentally conscious development, China's vision marks a pivotal milestone in its economic journey.

In the words of President Xi Jinping, this year symbolizes the unlocking of China's market for further modernization. This strategic endeavor seeks to align domestic and international imperatives while seamlessly integrating development with security considerations.

Over the past seven decades, especially during the four transformative decades of reform under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the nation has achieved remarkable social stability and economic growth. Indeed, China's economic transformation is from a humble beginning to global leadership.

At the heart of this extraordinary progress is shrewd management of the intricate relationship between reform, development, and stability. In 2022, China's investment in research and development soared a remarkable 10.1 percent from the previous year. The growth in high-tech industry investment, which surged by 12.5 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2023, and the substantial increase in the added value of critical sectors such as aerospace, equipment, and lithium batteries, which exceeded 20 percent year-on-year, vividly illustrate China's unwavering commitment to coordinated development.

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The urbanization rate has risen from 53 percent in 2012 to 65 percent in 2022, significantly reducing the urban-rural ratio of disposable income per capita from 2.88 to 2.5. Recent years have also witnessed China's intensified efforts to establish a unified national market, resulting in accelerated development in key regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, yielding substantial benefits.

Moreover, China's steadfast dedication to green development resonates with global concerns. In addressing humanity's shared challenges, the nation has witnessed significant growth in new energy vehicles, wind power capacity, and charging stations. Additionally, China's installed renewable energy capacity has surpassed that of coal, with wind power ranking as the world's leading source for 13 consecutive years and solar photovoltaic power ranking first for the last eight years.

Foreign investment in China continues to surge, with 24,000 new foreign-invested companies established in the first half of this year, reflecting a notable 35.7 percent year-on-year increase. Notably, Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory played a pivotal role in the company’s global deliveries, producing an electric car every 40 seconds

Foreign investment in China continues to surge, with 24,000 new foreign-invested companies established in the first half of this year, reflecting a notable 35.7 percent year-on-year increase. Notably, Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory played a pivotal role in the company’s global deliveries, producing an electric car every 40 seconds.

It is worth noting China's commitment to BRICS cooperation, emphasizing its readiness to collaborate with its fellow BRICS partners – Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa – in line with the principles of openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation. This new phase of China's economic journey signifies a pivotal moment, not just for the nation but for the global economic landscape.

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Reflecting on these 74 years, we witness China's evolution from the early days of independence, when it grappled with severe economic backwardness and societal desolation, to the prosperity achieved after 44 years of reform and development. Progress has been profound in science, technology, economy, culture, social development, stability, national unity, and border defense.

China spearheads monumental projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), aimed at benefiting the entire world. The BRI connects Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America through a vast network of roads and sea lanes and increasing people-to-people exchanges, representing a significant portion of the world's growth and population.

China's commitment to cooperation in the BRI includes policy alignment, infrastructure development, and open trade, with extensive investments from both public and private Chinese institutions. Despite opposition from some Western countries, China remains steadfast in its vision to unite the world through economic competition rather than conflict.

The CPEC, a cornerstone of the BRI, spans 2,400 kilometers from the bustling Gwadar port on the coast of Pakistan to China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. This ambitious corridor is a testament to China's unwavering commitment to modern development and global economic integration.

READ MORE: China makes significant strides in modernization drive

Unlike traditional superpowers that have relied on military might to assert dominance, China is charting a different course — one characterized by economic prowess and cooperation. The completion of these grand projects signifies a significant shift in the global power landscape, with China poised to lead not through force but through its ability to foster economic growth, innovation, and connectivity.

Crucially, China's journey toward this future is not a solitary one. It is marked by partnerships with nations that share its vision for inclusive development. Pakistan stands as one of the most significant allies in this endeavor. The collaborative spirit between Beijing and Islamabad has been instrumental in overcoming challenges and advancing these transformative projects.

Amid opposition from certain quarters, often driven by competing interests and outdated paradigms, China remains steadfast in its pursuit of these humanitarian goals. The world is witnessing a paradigm shift in global affairs as China takes bold strides toward a brighter future for all nations involved in the BRI and beyond. The emphasis on economic cooperation and development resonates as a beacon of hope in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.

The writer is Secretary General of Pakistan China Friendship Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter and a senior media consultant. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.



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