China’s Plan to Spur Growth: A New Slogan With Familiar Ideas

From the top of the government, China is heavily promoting a plan to fix the country’s stagnant economy and offset the harm from a decades-long housing bubble.

The program has a fresh slogan, presented foremost by Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, as “new, quality productive forces.”

But it has features that are familiar from China’s economic playbook: The idea is to spur innovation and growth through massive investments in manufacturing, particularly in high-tech and clean energy, as well as robust spending on research and development. And there have been few concrete provisions for how the government hopes to persuade Chinese households to reverse a prolonged slowdown in spending.

Premier Li Qiang, the country’s No. 2 official, laid out the plan on Sunday in a speech to chief executives from around the globe, who had gathered in Beijing for the country’s annual China Development Forum. “We will accelerate the development of new, quality productive forces,” he said at the forum’s opening ceremony.

Started in 2000, the China Development Forum is designed to explain to corporate leaders the economic plan laid out each year by the premier on March 5.

In previous years, the forum featured a lengthy, closed-door discussion with chief executives where the premier entertained many questions. But the premier’s conversation, usually on the event’s final day, was canceled this year without explanation, prompting some chief executives to skip Monday and schedule their private jets to fly out on Sunday evening.

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