Xi says there will be no hard landing, Chinese economy has entered 'new normal'

Xi wears 3D glasses to view robotic equipment at the Hamlyn Centre for Medical Robotics, during a visit to Imperial College in London.
Xi wears 3D glasses to view robotic equipment at the Hamlyn Centre for Medical Robotics, during a visit to Imperial College in London.REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping promised “no hard landing” for the world’s second-largest economy despite its slowdown, during a state visit to Britain focused bolstering business and trade ties.

It comes after data showed Chinese growth slowing to 6.9 per cent in its third quarter, its worst performance since the 2009 financial crisis and a confirmation of slowing in an economy accustomed to double-digit growth.

“As the world biggest emerging economy, China has entered a new normal in its economic development,” Xi told the UK-China Business Summit during his trip, the first by a Chinese president in a decade.

“The Chinese economy does face some downward pressure and structural problems, but such adjustments look inevitable when the economy reaches a certain stage after years of high growth.”

He added that China would seek to boost growth through domestic consumption, rather than through exports and investment as before.

Highlighting the heft of the Chinese economy despite recent turbulence in its financial markets, Xi said that over the next five years China would import the equivalent of $10,000 billion worth of goods and that 500 million Chinese tourists would travel abroad.

A clutch of business contracts said by British Prime Minister David Cameron to be worth almost £40 billion (S$85 billion) have been announced during Xi’s visit, as well as the launch of the first yuan-denominated bond in London as China seeks to internationalise its currency.

Xi said that China and Britain would collaborate in financial services, rail and energy infrastructure, as well as emerging sectors such as bioenergy, smart cities, information technology and e-commerce.