Top Economist: China's Growth Model Unsustainable


China's robust growth over the last few decades is unsustainable, a former member of the People's Bank of China's policy committee wrote Thursday in the state-run China Daily, warning that government control, excessive real estate investment and a lack of innovation threaten future performance.

Yu Yongding, who currently serves as president of the China Society of World Economics, echoed Premier Wen Jiabao's concern that the nation's growth is "unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable."

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He said the two main potential growth laggards were the "government's influence in a large proportion of investment decisions," and excessive resources directed to real estate development, which accounts for nearly a quarter of total investment.

"Some local governments are literally digging holes and then filling them in to ratchet up GDP," Yu said in his opinion piece.

In addition, the economist voiced concern that robust manufacturing growth has not been accompanied by progress in research and development.

"After decades of rapid expansion, China has become the workshop of the global economy. The problem is that it is no more than a workshop. A lack of innovation and creation are the economy's Achilles' heel."

The comments come as many economists are predicting the inevitability of China overtaking the US as the world’s largest economy.

Yu's warnings, however, add weight to analysts who have warned of an emerging asset bubble in China.

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