ㄑ In Depth

What to know about China's high-quality development

Xinhua | March 18, 2024

Researchers adjust a humanoid robot at an AI laboratory on Jan. 31, 2024. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)

At the just-concluded sessions of China's top legislature and top political advisory body, or the "two sessions," Chinese President Xi Jinping called for major moves to deepen reform to inject strong impetus into promoting high-quality development, arousing heated discussions among the media and the public.

So, what exactly is high-quality development? And what are China's plans to achieve it?


High-quality development means a change from merely seeking growth to seeking better growth and seeking quality over quantity.

In Xi's view, high-quality development can meet people's ever-growing desire for a better life. It reflects the new development philosophy featuring innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.

High-quality development means shifting the growth model from crude to intensive, with a focus on innovation. It will no longer be mainly driven by traditional factors such as labor, capital and land but by new innovative factors such as information technology, big data and artificial intelligence.

High-quality development aims to achieve greater efficiency, equity, sustainability and security. Obsolete production capacity and technology will gradually be phased out while green emerging industries and renewable resource technology will be developed. This will lead to a new pattern of innovation-driven, green development that fosters a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.

Such development will establish a more equitable income distribution system and ensure equalization of public resources between urban and rural areas. This will allow the benefits of economic growth to have a more significant and fair impact on all individuals, leading to their common prosperity.

In 2017, Xi stated that China's economy was transitioning from a period of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development.

A Chinese passenger jet C919 performs at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, Feb. 20, 2024. (Photo by Then Chih Wey/Xinhua)

He noted that China had reached a critical stage in transforming its growth model. It faced problems such as rising labor costs, growing constraints from resources and the environment, and impediments in economic flows.

The current principal contradiction in China's society has been transformed into the contradiction between people's growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and insufficient development. There is a need for a more prominent position for high-quality development.


Stroll through the Hefei Hi-tech Zone and expect to see the birthplace of the world's first quantum science experiment satellite, "Mozi," the country's first quantum chip production line and the world's leading voice recognition system.

Starting from a piece of farmland, the Hefei Hi-Tech Zone has developed rapidly over the years. In 2015, its GDP exceeded 50 billion yuan (6.95 billion U.S. dollars) for the first time. Only four years later, the figure doubled to 100 billion yuan (about 13.8 billion dollars). Most notably, 73.8 percent of its industrial output value came from emerging and high-tech industries, more than doubling the 30.6 percent ten years ago.

The zone's rapid growth gives people a glimpse of China's efforts to realize high-quality development in recent years, driven by technology and innovation.

Since last year, a series of technological breakthroughs have emerged in China, including the commercial maiden flight of the domestic large aircraft C919, the undocking of the first domestic large cruise ship, the completion of the lifting of the world's first 16-megawatt offshore wind turbine and the record length of time set by a single test of the main engine of China's manned lunar landing rocket, among many others.

A report released by the China Academy of Science and Technology Development Strategy shows that China's national innovation index had risen to 10th in the world in 2023, up three places from the year before. It is the only developing country to enter the top 15.

During this year's "two sessions," Chinese Premier Li Qiang announced a projection of around 5 percent growth for China's economy for 2024, highlighting the government's focus on moderate yet high-quality growth.

To achieve it, China will launch a year-long program to stimulate consumption; launch policies to promote digital, environmentally friendly and health-related consumption; increase effective investment; modernize the industrial system; and develop new quality productive forces faster.

"China has designed a high-quality economic development model for its current stage of development, advocating for a green economy and high-tech development," said Luis Fernandez, senior researcher at the World Economic Research Center of the University of Havana. "This will inject strong vitality into the world economy."