The conclusion of China’s National People’s Congress on 15 March saw the release of the 13th Five-Year Economic and Social Development Plan.

Built on the “Four Comprehensives” of building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, advancing the rule of law and strengthening discipline in the Party, the plan provides a blueprint for China’s development over the next five years.

We set out below some of the key objectives of the Plan. As you will see, they are bold and ambitious, with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Highlights include:

  • A continuing emphasis on the opening up of the financial markets, coupled with regulation and reform.
  • Innovation, fintech, big data and internet+ get another big push.
  • Infrastructure, both domestic and along the “One Belt One Road”, continue to be a focus, with an increased emphasis on sustainability.
  • Health and aged care also get increased attention as China aggressively seeks to lift the quality of life of its people and care for its ageing.

While they may not have received as much attention (to date) as some of the other objectives, we predict that health and aged care are going to be huge, and provide significant opportunities for health and aged-care specialists globally.

These are just some of the highlights. The Plan also focusses strongly on other sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, education and the environment. 

We will issue a more detailed sector-by-sector analysis of the Plan shortly.

Should you wish to discuss what the Plan means for you or your business, please contact one of our China experts.

Financial markets reforms

  • Further opening-up of the capital markets to foreign issuers and investors
  • Steadily move forward with RMB internationalisation
  • Gradually establish a “negative list” regime for foreign exchange controls
  • Promote the issuance of hybrid instruments, high-yield bonds and other innovative debt instruments
  • Increase the proportion of direct financing (ie borrowing on the capital markets as opposed to borrowing from banks)
  • Improve the bond issuance registration system, bond market infrastructure and bond markets interoperability
  • Establish a green financial system consisting of green loans, green bonds, a green development fund and other innovative green financial products
  • Create the conditions for the implementation of a registration-based IPO regime
  • Promote the interbank lending, repo, FX and gold markets
  • Steadily move forward with derivatives market innovation
  • Develop financial leasing services
  • Accelerate the development of the reinsurance market

Financial institution reforms and regulation

  • Encourage more private capital to enter into the financial services sector
  • Promote the further internationalisation of Chinese financial institutions by strengthening their global service networks
  • Improve market access for financial services, including banking, insurance, securities and pension funds
  • Steadily encourage financial institutions to engage in mixed financial activities (ega mix of banking, securities and insurance activities)
  • Enhance national anti-money laundering (AML), anti-terrorist financing and financial sanctions regimes
  • Improve supervision of systemically important financial institutions, financial holding companies and core financial market infrastructures
  • Promote functional regulation and consumer financial protection
  • Effectively deploy and develop financial risk management tools, including stress testing

Innovation, “Internet+”, fintech and big data

  • Innovation is recognised as a primary driving force for economic development
  • Establish first-class national science centres and technological innovation hubs
  • Increase investment in research and development
  • Further regulate and develop internet finance
  • Further promote “Internet+” strategy by integrating internet technology with manufacturing and industry (ie “Made in China + Internet”)
  • Promote extensive use of big data (through implementation of the national big data strategy), cloud computing and the Internet of Things
  • Improve data security and enhance privacy protections

Infrastructure

  • Further promote the One Belt One Road initiative and organisations such as the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), BRICS New Development Bank and the Silk Road Fund
  • Establish highly efficient, smart, green, interconnected modern infrastructure networks throughout China (eg linking more than 80% of big cities in China with high-speed railways, building or upgrading around 30,000 km of expressways and expanding broadband networks)
  • Establish more transportation hubs and improve existing regional and international nubs
  • Promote green and environmentally-friendly infrastructure
  • Further develop urban and rural infrastructure

Health

  • Enhance medical and pharmaceutical standards, including comprehensive basic medical treatment systems
  • Achieve basic medical care for all and improve health standards of all citizens
  • Implement comprehensive medical and health system reforms
  • Increase spending on research and development, including new medicines
  • Strengthen supervision of the health industry, improving the quality of medical services and ensuring medical safety
  • Implement urban and rural residents’ health insurance system, improving assistance for major diseases and emergency treatment
  • Reform methods of health insurance payment and management to reasonably control medical costs and achieve sustainability for insurance funds
  • Improve maternal and child health and reproductive services
  • Maintain preventive care as a priority, including by promoting a nationwide fitness campaign
  • Improve the food safety regulatory system and improve food safety standards
  • Increase rural food and drug safety management efforts to improve the regulation of food and drug sales network

Aged care

  • Establish a system with home residence as its foundation, community care as support and institutions as supplementary care
  • Plan and construct public welfare aged cared facilities, support nursing homes for disabled elderly, set up day care centres and other community facilities
  • Enhance scientific research into aged care
  • Implement aged care training programs and promote aged care nursing and management professions
  • Promote integration of health care and aged care services
  • Promote living environments suitable for elderly persons
  • Wholly liberalise the aged care services market, support a variety of market players through the acquisition of services, joint equity investments and other ways to increase the supply of aged care services and products
  • Strengthen the protection of elderly rights, promote social values of respect, care and assistance for the elderly