China's economy: 7 key people who make the big decisions

ZHOU XIAOCHUAN, 67

  • Head of the People's Bank of China (PBoC), or China's central bank, since December 2002. The bank is in charge of maintaining overall financial stability and also regulates money markets, interest rates, exchange rates and other aspects of monetary policy.
  • Mr Zhou served as head of a string of organisations such as the China Securities Regulatory Commission and China Construction Bank.
  • His position as China's central bank governor, however, is far less influential than that in the United States as the PBoC cannot make big decisions, such as raising or lowering interest rates, without the approval of the State Council or top party leaders.

LOU JIWEI, 65

  • China's Finance Minister since March 2013. Mr Lou was previously the chairman and chief executive of China Investment Corporation (CIC), the country's official sovereign wealth fund.
  • The ministry administers macroeconomic policies and compiles the national annual budget. It is also in charge of the CIC.

XU SHAOSHI, 64

  • Head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, since March 2013.
  • It is meant to help the council coordinate China's massive bureaucracy, and has broad administrative and planning control over the economy. It is the only ministry-level agency with four minister-level officials in leadership positions.
  • The NDRC's power has been sharply curtailed with many of its administrative approval items eliminated and its coordination role reportedly diminished.
  • Mr Xu served previously as Minister of Land and Resources.

GAO HUCHENG, 64

  • China's Commerce Minister since March 2013. He was previously vice-minister of commerce for a decade.
  • The ministry is responsible for formulating policy on foreign trade and direct investments, and negotiating bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements.

MIAO WEI, 60

  • Head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology since December 2010. The auto industry veteran was the former Communist Party chief of Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province.
  • The ministry is responsible for drawing up China's industrial planning, policies and standards, guiding the construction of its information system, and safeguarding China's information security.

XIAO GANG, 57

  • Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), China's securities regulator, since March 2013.
  • Before leading the CSRC, Mr Xiao was chairman of the Bank of China, China's fourth biggest lender, for a decade.

LIU HE, 63

  • A noted economist often referred to as "China's Larry Summers" - the former US treasury secretary - Mr Liu is the director of the general office of the Central Economic and Finance Leading Small Group, a high-level party committee that allows the Chinese Communist Party to continue managing and having oversight of China's economic affairs.
  • He is also a minister-level deputy director of the NDRC, and is known to be a close confidant of President Xi Jinping. Mr Liu was said to be the prime architect of a reform-minded blueprint for China's economy unveiled at a party summit in November 2013.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 17, 2016, with the headline 'Key faces making the big decisions'. Print Edition | Subscribe