The Business Times

China's reforms continue to be slow, safe and steady

Beijing has gone in for gradual progress on many fronts

Published Mon, May 5, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[BEIJING] Six months into China's grand economic makeover, Beijing is playing it safe, choosing gradual progress on many fronts over game-changing, riskier reforms such as removing all controls over bank interest rates.

Yet taken together, the incremental steps promise to reach enough critical mass to sustain reform momentum and help the world's second-largest economy shift down fairly smoothly after decades of red-hot investment-fuelled growth.

It's a 21st century version of Deng Xiaoping's "crossing the river by touching the stones" strategy of cautious economic experimentation in the 1970s and 1980s. The caution is still there; the difference is today China is crossing that river in many spots at once and the water is probably deeper.

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