The global economy is at a critical juncture, facing a multitude of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions have cast a shadow over economic growth in recent years. The Global Risks Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum highlights the interconnected risks posed by these conflicts, including energy and food supply shortages, cost of living crises, and debt servicing challenges, which are expected to persist for the next couple of years. While there are signs of easing tensions between China and the US, uncertainty remains.
Despite these challenges, several key economic indicators are showing positive trends. Major economies have demonstrated resilience, and emerging economies have managed to avoid financial distress. In Europe, the burden of high gas prices has eased, potentially leading to higher incomes, increased consumption, and lower inflation. China’s economy has stabilized and experienced a stronger-than-expected 4.5 percent year-on-year growth in the first quarter.
In this crucial moment for global economic recovery, the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions is returning as a physical event after three years. Taking place in Tianjin, China from June 27-29, the event will bring together over 1,500 global leaders and innovators from various sectors to engage in dialogues on reigniting innovation in Asia and worldwide. Guided by entrepreneurship, they will explore ways to revitalize the global economy, establish new industry models and partnerships, and steer the world towards a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future.
While the road to recovery will present challenges, collaboration for a shared future can make 2023 a year of economic resurgence. Stability, transparency, sustainability, and predictable policies are crucial for rebuilding entrepreneurs’ confidence, as they are the creators of social wealth and the drivers of innovation. Green industries and innovative technologies are also essential for fostering a just transition and achieving long-term sustainable growth.
As the world’s second-largest economy and a major trading partner for numerous countries, China plays a pivotal role in the global economic system. In 2023, China is expected to experience economic growth, with the IMF forecasting a 5.2 percent GDP increase, providing a boost to regional and global economies. Despite long-term challenges like potential productivity stagnation and demographic shifts, China is well-positioned to transform these obstacles into opportunities by developing green and innovative industries and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.
China has set ambitious goals to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, which pose significant difficulties but also demand substantial efforts. Geopolitical conflicts, energy crises, and industrial decoupling increasingly hinder global climate action, emphasizing the critical need for international cooperation.
Addressing climate change necessitates mobilizing global resources for cross-border, cross-sector, and cross-industry collaboration. It is encouraging to see many Chinese companies recognizing the Forum’s value and actively partnering on climate change initiatives.
As countries recover and prices stabilize, pent-up consumer demand is being unleashed. The pandemic accelerated shifts in consumption habits, impacting all sectors and shaping the future business and consumption landscape. Retail and service sectors, most affected by the pandemic, must prepare for a surge in consumer demand while adapting to changing habits.
Since 2018, the Forum has identified 150 lighthouse factories worldwide, with 50 of them based in China. These companies integrate advanced technologies into strategic planning, production processes, customer management, supply chains, and after-sales services. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and bioengineering offer infinite opportunities and considerations.
According to the Forum’s Chief Economist Outlook 2023, successfully navigating the unpredictable path ahead requires countries to cooperate and adapt to a changing environment. Achieving these goals entails establishing and strengthening public-private partnerships, promoting stakeholder participation, turning entrepreneurial ideas into reality, and effecting positive change on a broader scale.
In January, China’s Vice-Premier Liu He emphasized at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos that openness drives reform, development, and China’s economic progress, and that China’s doors will continue to open wider. The Forum remains committed to bridging the gap between the East and the West, fostering understanding, accelerating cooperation, promoting dialogue, and mitigating conflicts. We hope to see more Chinese companies actively joining this process and contributing to a better world.
As we navigate the complex challenges and uncertainties of the global economy, it is imperative that we come together, collaborate, and seize opportunities for growth, innovation, and sustainability. By fostering an environment of trust, cooperation, and inclusivity, we can build a resilient economic landscape that benefits not only individual nations but also the entire global community.
The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions serves as a platform for visionary leaders, thinkers, and innovators to come together, exchange ideas, and forge partnerships that drive positive change. Through collective action and a shared commitment to a brighter future, we can overcome the obstacles ahead and usher in an era of sustainable economic recovery and inclusive prosperity.
As we embark on this journey, let us prioritize stability, transparency, and sustainability. By working hand in hand, leveraging the power of innovation, and embracing emerging technologies, we can build a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous world for generations to come. The challenges we face are significant, but by embracing collaboration and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit, we can shape a future that is not only economically vibrant but also socially and environmentally sustainable.