Since the start of the economic reform process in the 70s China has been able to generate a large volume of investment, both from domestic and foreign sources. This high volume of investment was instrumental in sustaining strong economic growth and related improvements in living standards. However, this growth model is not longer sustainable. Returns on investment have fallen, excessive capacity is plaguing several sectors and the negative externalities have been very onerous, notably in terms of environmental degradation and rising income inequality. A key objective of the Chinese government is therefore to move the economy towards a more balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth path as envisaged by the 13th Five-Year Plan. In this adjustment process, the country is seeking new approaches for smarter, greener and more productive investment. This will require mutually reinforcing reforms to improve investment planning, rebalance the role of government and market forces, mainstream responsible business conduct and encourage greater private investment, especially in green infrastructure. China’s growing role as an outward investor may act as catalyser for the required reforms at home, as Chinese private and state-owned enterprises have to adopt internationally recognised practices and standards .
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