Commenting on Liu He’s emergence as President Xi Jinping’s chief economic strategist, Prof. Xufei Ma told BBC Chinese “Liu needs to lead the country to reach economic maturity. From a micro-economic perspective, China has become more mature with the emergence of China-born world-class corporations. However, from a macro-economic perspective, the country needs to expand its depth and breadth.”
On 19 March 2018, during the Two Sessions（兩會）(the 13th National People’s Congress and the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference), Liu He（劉鶴）, 66, was appointed as a vice-premier overseeing the economy and financial sector; and the director of the Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs. The appointment confirms Liu’s position as the mastermind of President Xi’s economic strategy and also brings with it a heavy responsibility – to put theory into practice to prevent shock waves in the national – and global – economy.
At the 19th Communist Party Congress held in October last year, Liu – President Xi Jinping’s right-hand man and his top adviser on economic policies – was elected into the 25-member Politburo, the second-highest tier in Beijing’s political power structure after the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee. Few could doubt that Liu is Xi’s most trusted adviser on economic management. Liu was never named but he soon emerged from the shadows as one of the most influential forces in China’s economic policymaking, striding the international stage as the public face of Xi’s economic policy.
Commenting on Liu’s emergence as Xi’s chief economic strategist in an interview with BBC Chinese, Xufei Ma, Associate Professor of Department of Management and Director of Centre for Entrepreneurship at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School says that “Liu is different compared with other government officials,” adding that Liu’s appointment as a vice-premier is to authorise a scholar-type official with the real power.
Prof. Ma believes Liu is able to put economic theories and data into systematic and practical application. As a Harvard University alumnus, he has developed a global mindset that can help bolster implementation of policies based on scientific analyses.
“Zhou Xiaochuan（周小川）, who had recently retired from the governor of the People’s Bank of China, was also a scholar-type official. Zhou took the helm of China’s central bank 15 years ago. It is expected that there will be plenty of challenging issues from the increasingly complex China and global economy, opting for an official with a scholar background to oversee economic policymaking for the country,” says Prof. Ma.
“As China’s chief economic strategist, Liu needs to lead the country to reach economic maturity. From a micro-economic perspective, China has become more mature with the emergence of world-class corporations such as Huawei Technologies, Tencent, Alibaba and more. However, from a macro-economic perspective, the country needs to expand its depth and breadth,” adds Prof. Ma.
“Liu needs to resolve various economic challenges ahead of him, for example, Is the economic structure rational? Could China cope with potential financial risk? How should China handle trade friction with other countries?” elaborates Prof. Ma.
Source: BBC Chinese
Date published: 18 March, 2018
Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg