This year's Boao forum will bring together leaders of many countries: China

BEIJING - A regional economic forum, billed as Asia's alternative to the World Economic Forum, will get a big boost this year with the participation of China's new top leader, said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

The minister did not name the leader though there has been talk that incoming President Xi Jinping, who is also the Communist Party chief, will be attending the Boao Forum for Asia in early April. The China-driven initiative began in 2002 to fuel regional economic integration.

But the minister pledged that this year's forum, which will be held in the Boao town on tourist Hainan island, will surpass its past instalments in terms of level and scale, with many leaders from other countries and international organisations.

"It will become a major platform to push growth and developments in Asia and the world," said Mr Yang during a briefing on Saturday morning held amid China's national legislature session.