China is now at an important juncture in its development. Decades of double-digit growth have become unsustainable for the rising economic power. China is moving toward the next stage of development. The wheels of economic transition are turning.
"In the past many years, China's economic model has been very reliant on exports, but that year is over. China now has an economy that is already the second-largest in the world. China needs to really transition the economy to more of a consumption-driven economy," Jing Ulrich, managing director and chairman of global markets, China at J.P. Morgan, told me.
Doug Guthrie, dean of the George Washington University School of Business and a Western expert in China's economic reform, thinks that China has not only talked the talk and is really walking the talk.
"It's very clear that China knows and the rest of the world knows that China must make the transition from its current economic status to being a consumer-based economy," Guthrie told me.
"In order to make the shift from an economy based on state-led infrastructure investment to consumption-led development, China needs to see a swing in the pendulum away from the drivers being investment to consumption. And I think the process has been well underway."
Guthrie's views were echoed by Steven Roach, the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and a current senior fellow at Yale University.
"I think the Chinese leadership is very committed to shifting the growth model from external demand to internal demand. And the 12th Five-year Plan I think really lays out some of the important objectives in that regard," Roach told me.
"China is changing its stripes. It is rebalancing away from a model that is probably not the most sustainable model for the long haul to one that is better balanced. And I think that's a very important development that should be talked about."
The economic transition is high on the agenda of China's new leadership, and a series of rebalancing efforts are being taken by the government. Slowly but surely, the next China is coming into focus.
(This is a reprint from the People's Daily Online of the August 26, 2013 edition.)