Top 10 business news stories of 2023
A review of business news in 2023
  ·  2023-12-25  ·   Source: NO.52 DECEMBER 28, 2023
Workers inspect equipment at the workshop of a machinery production company in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, on December 18 (XINHUA)

1. Biggest Engine of Global Economic Growth 

This year has been a year for economic recovery after three years of COVID-19. Despite external pressure and internal difficulties, China's economy is recovering well and has made solid progress in high-quality development in 2023.

In the first three quarters, China's GDP recorded a year-on-year growth of 5.2 percent, surpassing 91.3 trillion yuan ($12.7 trillion). The nation is well-positioned to achieve this year's growth target of around 5 percent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised up China's GDP growth rate forecasts to 5.4 percent for 2023. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicted China's real GDP would grow by 5.2 percent in 2023.

China remains the world's biggest growth engine in 2023, contributing about one third of global economic growth.


Employees make wire cables on the assembly line of a private electronics company in Guang'an, Sichuan Province, on August 24 (XINHUA) 

2. Policy Incentives for Private Sector 

The consistent rollout of policy incentives in 2023 has contributed to the steady advancement of the private sector.

In July, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council issued a guideline on boosting the growth of the private economy, promising to improve its business environment, enhance policy support, and strengthen the legal guarantee for its development.

In August, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, and several other government agencies unveiled 28 detailed measures including tax reductions and cutting red tape to boost the private economy.

In September, the country established a bureau under the NDRC specializing in promoting the private economy's development.

In November, eight authorities including the People's Bank of China and the National Financial Regulatory Administration unveiled 25 measures to strengthen financial services for private companies.


A digital holographic projection captured on April 26 at the Sixth Digital China Construction Achievements Exhibition, held in Fuzhou, Fujian Province (XINHUA) 

3. Building a Digital China 

In February, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council rolled out a plan for China's digital development. According to the plan, important progress will be made in the construction of a digital China by 2025, with effective interconnectivity in digital infrastructure, a significantly improved digital economy, and major breakthroughs achieved in digital technology innovation. By 2035, China will be at the global forefront in terms of digital development.

On October 25, the country inaugurated the National Data Administration. The new administration is responsible for establishing fundamental data-related mechanisms, coordinating the integration, sharing, development and application of data resources, and advancing the planning and building of a digital China, a digital economy and a digital society.


Potential homebuyers gather information at a real estate exhibition and trade fair in Jinan, Shandong Province, on February 8 (XINHUA) 

4. Real Estate in Flux 

During a meeting on July 24, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee underscored the importance of adjusting and improving related policies in a timely manner to adapt to the changes in the relationship between supply and demand in China's real estate market.

Since August, related government departments have released new policies aimed at readjusting the criteria for identifying first-home buyers, lowering the minimum down payment ratio, as well as reducing mortgage rates, and the interest rates on existing mortgages for first-home loans.

As of September 1, megacities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou have adjusted their criteria for identifying first-home buyers, which will enable more home buyers to enjoy reduced down-payment ratios and lowered mortgage lending rates. Starting from December 14, policies lowering down payment requirements and mortgage rates have been introduced in all four cities. 

This year, many real estate companies have actively addressed mounting risks arising from the investment frenzy, accompanied by high levels of debt and financial leverage. However, there are also companies, such as Evergrande, that have become embroiled in a debt crisis.


China Securities Regulatory Commission in Beijing on February 17 (XINHUA) 

5. IPO Reform 

China has officially rolled out its across-the-board registration-based initial public offering (IPO) system, with relevant rules coming into effect on February 17, marking a significant milestone in the reform of China's capital market.

The rules involve simplifying listing requirements, optimizing registration procedures, improving the regulations on underwriting and on major asset restructuring of listed firms, strengthening oversight and law enforcement, and stepping up the protection of investors.

The essence of the registration-based reform is to let the market make the choice under tightened market and legal constraints. The reform will optimize registration procedures, unify registration systems nationwide and fine-tune the supervision mechanism.


Consumers try out Huawei's Mate 60 series at a flagship store in Shanghai on September 24 (CNSPHOTO) 

6. Huawei's Chip Breakthrough 

Despite sweeping U.S. sanctions on chip exports to China, tech giant Huawei launched a new phone, the Mate 60 Pro, powered by an advanced chip, the Kirin 9000S, in August. The new handset's 5G application processor is a design and manufacturing milestone for China.

The 7-nanometer processor was manufactured by China's leading chip foundry, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. It demonstrates the technical progress China's semiconductor industry has been able to make without extreme ultraviolet lithography tools.


A worker inspects a fully automated welding machine to produce solar cells at a new energy company in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, on August 9 (XINHUA) 

7. Widening the Gateway for Investment 

On October 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the removal of all restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector during his keynote speech at the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

The measure is a testament to China's ongoing commitment to opening up and a major step forward for China in key areas of its development, namely, entering a new stage of fostering internationally competitive manufacturing within an open environment; responding to attempts to decouple from China; and assuming a role as a global flag-bearer for free trade.


The Adora Magic City in Shanghai on November 4 (XINHUA) 


China Eastern Airlines' third C919 takes off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on December 9 (XINHUA) 

8. High-End Manufacturing 

On May 28, China's first self-developed narrow-body jet, the C919, successfully completed its maiden commercial flight. The flight signified the completion of the C919's 15-year journey from research and development to manufacturing and certification.

On December 10, China's first domestically produced large cruise ship, the Adora Magic City, was officially transferred to the operator. China has successfully built an aircraft carrier, a large liquified natural gas carrier and a large cruise ship—the three most challenging shipbuilding projects.

These milestones are part of China's overall effort to promote high-quality economic development by increasing its high-end manufacturing capabilities.


A plaque for the Kashi (Kashgar) Area of the China (Xinjiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone photographed on November 11 (XINHUA) 

9. A Decade of FTZ Progress 

This year is the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China's first pilot free trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai's Pudong New Area. Despite occupying less than 0.4 percent of the nation's land area, China's FTZs have contributed nearly 18 percent of its total foreign investment and trade volume.

The China (Xinjiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone was officially inaugurated on November 1, making it the 22nd pilot FTZ in China and the first in the country's northwestern border regions. Over the past decade, China's pilot FTZs have seen a gradual improvement in distribution, creating a comprehensive pattern of reform, opening up and innovation that spans China's east, west, south and north, and strategically encompasses coastal, inland and border areas.


An image of the mascot of the China International Supply Chain Expo in Beijing on November 29 (XINHUA) 

10. Supply Chain Spotlight 

On November 28, the First China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE), the world's first state-level supply chain expo, kicked off in Beijing. Themed Connecting the World for a Shared Future, the CISCE aimed to advance high-level opening up, provide services for shaping a new development paradigm, promote the construction of an open economy and implement the concept of a global community with a shared future.

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