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China Focus: China’s Pursuit for Long-Term Sustainability Under Spotlight

Top scholars and business leaders from across the world discussed long-term sustainable development for China and the rest of the world during a just-concluded global financial forum in Beijing.

The 2023 Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum held on the weekend covered topics from green transformation and digitalization to global growth.

China has been doing very well to find solutions for long-term sustainability, said Gyorgy Matolcsy, governor of Hungary’s central bank Magyar Nemzeti Bank, speaking at the two-day forum.

He added that China is now the factory of the world, but beyond that, the center of clean energy, sustainable industry and industrial products, as well as circular economy.

According to Matolcsy, the center of the world economy and global finance has moved from the West to Eurasia, especially to China.

China’s installed clean energy capacity saw an expansion, with wind power capacity rising 12.2 percent year on year to approximately 380 million kilowatts, and solar power capacity up 36.6 percent to 440 million kilowatts by the end of April, official data showed.

The country has also enhanced its investment in renewable energy. During the January-April period, the total investment by China’s major power companies in solar energy increased 156.3 percent year on year to 74.3 billion yuan (about 10.57 billion U.S. dollars).

China has been successful in driving the price of renewable energy down and in the development of new and better battery technologies, Erik Berglof, chief economist with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said at the forum.

In the global value chain, he added, China is impressive and increasing its share, and should actively decarbonize itself.

Critical examples include the country’s efforts to reduce carbon emission intensity with the ambitious goals of achieving carbon peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.

Riding on the wave of digitalization and intelligence, China has been gaining steam for long-term sustainable development, participants at the forum noted.

Burkhard Balz, a member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the German central bank, pointed out that in China, mobile payment systems have been hugely successful in the past decade, while in Europe, the use of euro cash is still relatively high.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is well advanced in terms of its work on central bank digital currency, and the central banks around the globe should seize opportunities to share experience and engage in dialogue with the goal of learning from others, he said.

The amount of digital yuan in circulation reached 13.61 billion yuan by the end of 2022, with application scenarios, transaction value and amount of digital yuan increasing steadily, and relative management and calculation systems have also improved, according to the PBOC.

International trade in the future will go digital, said Zhang Xiangchen, deputy director general of the World Trade Organization, adding that the trend of digitalization is changing the traditional way of trading goods and services, and creating many new products and new ways of trading.

In regard to global growth, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Michael Spence, emphasized that there are positive aspects to consider. Speaking via video link, he highlighted the significance of investing heavily in technologies that have the potential to produce inclusive growth patterns, especially sustainable growth patterns.