Chinese central authorities have shared their vision for economic work in 2018, the first year after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which charted the course for China's future development.
On Wednesday and Friday, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, chaired two meetings on economic work in 2018, sending important signals for the first time for next year's economy.
A BIG YEAR
Next year is the first full year for implementing the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress, which was held in October and drew a blueprint for China's development over the next 30-plus years.
"As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved," according to a report delivered by Xi during the CPC congress.
"What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing need for a better life," it said.
The report set requirements for China to develop a modernized economy focused on quality and performance in order to raise China's capacity for innovation and competitiveness.
"To do next year's economic work well, the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress must be implemented in an all-round way," according to a document released after a Friday meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
Meanwhile, 2018 is the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up policy. It is also an important year in working toward becoming a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, and implementing the country's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).
"At the present stage, the basic feature of China's economic development is the transition from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development," Xi said when meeting non-CPC representatives Wednesday.
Realizing quality development is a must for sustaining healthy economic and social development, adapting to China's new principal contradiction and building a modern socialist country in all respects, according to Xi.
"High-quality development is the fundamental requirement for determining the development path, making economic policies and conducting macroeconomic regulation at present and in the period to come," according to Xi.
The concept of high-quality development must be thoroughly understood and earnestly implemented, Xi added.
In recent years, China's economy has slowed from previous fast growth to medium-high growth. Its average annual growth was 9.8 percent between 1979 and 2012, dwarfing the global growth of 2.8 percent in the same period.
However, the fast growth was accompanied by excessive use of resources, environmental pollution and overcapacity.
Since 2012, the country has showed greater tolerance for lower growth rates in the pursuit of improved structure, quality and efficiency.
The stress on high-quality development will help eliminate the emphasis on growth rates to evaluate the economy, according to Zhang Liqun with the Development Research Center of the State Council, a government think tank.
HOUSING REFORM PRIORITIZED
Housing system reform will be prioritized in China's economic work next year, according to the statement following the Political Bureau meeting.
China will step up housing reform and the construction of a housing mechanism with lasting effects, the document said.
No more details were given on how to push reform forward.
"We must not forget that housing is for living in, not for speculation," according to the Xi's report at the CPC national congress.
"With this in mind, we will move faster to put in place a housing system that ensures supply through multiple sources, provides housing support through multiple channels, and encourages both housing purchases and renting," the report said.
Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said in early October that China is formulating a set of property control measures that will have long-lasting effects, and will unveil the measures at a proper time.
WINNING THREE BATTLES
China will seek solid progress in preventing major risks, targeted poverty alleviation and pollution control in 2018, according to the document issued after the Political Bureau meeting.
An overall plan should be made to "ensure the winning of the three tough battles," said the document.
For preventing and defusing major risks, China should contain the overall leverage ratio and raise the financial sector's ability to serve the real economy.
For targeted poverty relief, the country must provide precise support for special impoverished groups and intensify efforts in regions with abject poverty.
For pollution control, the country should continue to reduce emissions of major pollutants to improve environmental quality, the document said.