17 Jun 2020

Business China’s “Two Sessions” Series Part 1: Decoding China’s Economic Development

On the afternoon of 3 June 2020, Business China held its first part of the “Two Sessions” series, titled “Decoding China’s Economic Development”. The series was jointly organised with Enterprise Singapore, Lianhe Zaobao and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI). Professor Tan Kong Yam, Professor of Economics at the Nanyang Technological University and Mr Tommy Xie, Head of Greater China Research at OCBC, were invited as panellists for the event.

The virtual sharing received a warm response of over 210 participants, which comprised of Business China members (young business leaders, senior executives of corporates and working professionals), youths, members of SCCCI and invited guests of Enterprise Singapore and Lianhe Zaobao.

Moderator Ms Han Yong Hong, Associate Editor of Lianhe Zaobao and Editor of, kick-started the session with a sharing on how China’s “Two Sessions” (两会) 2020 had garnered worldwide attention as it was held amidst the country’s road to recovery post Covid-19, while charting the future economic direction.

Professor Tan Kong Yam delivered his views on the US-China relations and provided an overview of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) trends of both countries in recent years. Professor Tan also shared on the development of China, as reflected from the spending behaviour of Chinese youths and the rise in retail sales over the past 20 years. Lastly, he spoke about the future trends and implications for Singapore, which includes our role in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Tommy Xie gave his opinions on China’s economic recovery process. Although China did not set a GDP target this year, the country had a precise figure for its targeted budget deficit and employment rate. As such, Mr Xie believes that if such targets are met, there will still be potential in China’s growth. In addition, he shared candidly on the impact of China’s policies that had led to global market volatility, as well as the increase in sales of cosmetic products in China, despite a plunge in retail sales in March and April.

In response to the questions posed by the moderator, Professor Tan shared his positive inclination towards Phase 1 of the US-China trade deal, while Mr Xie showed optimism in China’s economic growth and the Chinese currency. Throughout the Q&A segment, participants showed great interest in the future of the US-China trade war and possible impacts on Singapore, as well as China’s plan to further open up the southern island province of Hainan.

The session ended on a high note with both panellists sharing their insights on how Singapore may benefit as a regional financial centre, if the manufacturing sector were to shift from major countries like China to Southeast Asia.

The session held in Mandarin lasted for one hour and fifteen minutes, with many participants finding it insightful and informative in providing them with different perspectives on China’s economic development.