Two new phrases reveal China’s economic hopes and pitfalls – quartz

Latest edition of Standard Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese It includes several new entries that reflect important political and socioeconomic trends in China. Among them: “sharing economy,” “carbon peak” and “carbon neutral” (referring to China’s ambitions to peak emissions by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2060), “mobile payments,” and ” Influence”.

These conditions did not gain currency in 2014, when Beijing Foreign Studies University last Published an edition of the dictionary. His involvement now shows how much China and the world have changed in eight years.

In particular, two phrases included in the glossary illustrate. Outline China’s key economic ambitions—as well as the challenges it faces.

“The New Normal”: Not so new anymore, and still unrealistic

One such desire is wrapped up in the phrase “new normal.” [新常态]which has earned a place in the dictionary pages.

According to Chinese state media The Chinese version of the phrase and its equivalent theory were first coined by President Xi Jinping in 2014. A change in the model of economic developmentfrom one defined by rapid growth in GDP to one where growth is “moderate” and more emphasis is placed on “quality and efficiency”.

Data provided by David Bendorski China Media ProjectA research group focusing on Chinese media and political communication shows a sharp increase in articles using the phrase “new normal” in the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, in 2015.

After that, just as fast Leave. But that doesn’t mean Beijing has stopped adjusting its growth model. It now does so under different buzzwords, such as “high quality” development and “shared prosperity”.

If the addition and subtraction of words from dictionaries can be considered a reflection of the zeitgeist of society, then the inclusion of the “new normal” in the update. Standard Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese It is a reminder that Beijing is far from achieving its goal of rebalancing its economy.

This is due to the ongoing real estate crisis in China and the accompanying economic slowdown. China for decades Much depends on what economists like Michael Petts think. Unproductive, or insufficiently productiveInvestment in real estate and investment to boost GDP growth. Now the property sector is exploding and threatening to explode.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities hope to revive the country’s stagnant economy by cutting key rates. But the more fundamental problem is weak demand from domestic consumers and businesses reluctant to invest and hire.

Until these deeper economic problems are addressed, Beijing’s “new normal” will only exist in the pages of dictionaries.

“Overtaking at the Turn:” A Key Focus of Industrial Policy

Another high economic ambition is to supercharge China’s technological prowess and overtake major powers like the US.

That goal is elusive. In the phrase “overtaking on a bend” [弯道超车]an important part of many of China’s industrial policies.

Literally defined, the phrase means to pass. Another car rounding a bend. Symbolically, this means pursuing rapid growth and what Chinese officials often call “leapfrog development,” targeting emerging and disruptive technologies where China can gain a strategic advantage over other competitors. Is.

The phrase’s appearance in People’s Daily increased thereafter. 2015, the year China released its “Made in China 2025” industrial policy, a sweeping plan to transform the country into a high-tech manufacturing power.

A successful example of China is “overtaking at the curve” in the world of electric vehicles and batteries. For years, Western Automakers focused on nickel-based batteries to power EVs. China took another route: the low-energy, but affordable, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery. That bet was paid. Now major automakers from Tesla to Ford has embraced the LFP, Thanks to its low price. And China is undoubtedly the leader in LFP technology and production.

However, not all of Beijing’s efforts to “get ahead of the curve” have failed. For example, while it has made great progress in developing its semiconductors, China is still considered to be at least a decade behind the most advanced players. On the chips front, then, Beijing is still rounding the bend.

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