China reform may be hard but has more than even chance to succeed, says Tharman

THE path of reform for China is a difficult one but the world's second largest economy has more than an even chance of success, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

This is because the leadership there understands the problems and is prepared to undergo short-term pain for long-term gain, which is more than can be said for many countries, he said.

Speaking at a dialogue at the FutureChina Global Forum tonight, Mr Tharman said China is unique country facing a complex set of challenges.

For one, the country will have to embark on reforms simultaneously across the financial, economic and social spheres, quite unlike the experience of large countries such as Britain and the United States.

These Western countries had the luxury of time to put together these reforms and move transform themselves into industrialised soceities, said Mr Tharman, who is also the Finance Minister.

"The challenge of reform in China is far more complex than it was 30 years ago. It is far more complex because China is older, its workforce is barely growing and the age profile has changed," he said.