China has seen remarkable growth over the past decades, with a powerhouse economy that’s now larger than those of Japan, Germany, the UK and India combined. In this DLD Munich session, two renowned China experts share their views of the road ahead: Ning Zhu, Professor of Finance at the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, and Joshua Cooper Ramo, Chairman and CEO of advisory and principal investment firm Sornay.
The discussion was moderated by Li Xin, Vice President of Caixin Media, which also co-curated the session.
Asked about the impact of the Covid pandemic on China’s society and economy, Ning Zhu sees “three major lines of implications”: the direct lockdown, supply-chain disruptions and longer-term implications on “the confidence, the habits of living, the sort of the expectation about what’s going to happen in the future”. The last aspect, he feels, is “probably what the government should work even harder on to restore and to maintain”.
Joshua Cooper Ramo points out that China has seen a decades-long transformation of society and business that is by no means finished yet. He sees a “spirit of innovation” and a “desire to create” that has turned the country into a powerhouse of innovation.
“China’s not just exporting products anymore, but business models”, Cooper Ramo says.
That said, the country is entering a new phase in its development, Ning Zhu points out. The economic success has created “a giant leap in wealth and income” which changes the dynamic of the economy.
“We’re not running a 100-meter sprint, we’re running a marathon”, the finance expert says. “Now it’s more important to keep running, to avoid stumbling. This is a very fundamental change… which I think the rest of the world is not fully aware of.”
Cooper Ramo sees the increasing tension between the United States and China as a threat to the future wellbeing of all mankind.
“The reality is, we are facing a world of global existential problems, whether that is global warming, the proliferation of cyber weapons, inequality, disease spreads”, he argues.
“The great tragedy of the next 50 years is not going to be U.S.-China conflict. It would be if the U.S. and China are unable to work together on these problems that are going to determine the fate of humanity.”