At the Forbes Global CEO conference, Sir Michael Hintze discussed the outlook for the Chinese economy, arguing that the recent leadership transition has had a significant, positive impact.
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Renowned British-Australian fund manager Sir Michael Hintze said last year's Chinese leadership transition, headed by President Xi Jinping, and its attack on institutionalised corruption was "as significant change as you had in the Cultural Revolution -- out with the old, in with the new, changing the ethos".
But he made clear to the 400-odd chief executives, fund managers and entrepreneurs he meant the comparison in a good way.
"China has a number of huge strengths and one is its leadership -- very well educated, very thoughtful -- and China is very fortunate to have a 10-year political cycle."
However, both Sir Michael and former prime minister Paul Keating, a special guest at the conference, cautioned that the growth slowdown and the transition from export-focused, state-capitalised industry to a consumption-driven economy carried significant short-term hazards.
"I'm optimistic they'll be able to get through it, but I'm not optimistic they'll be able to keep that 7 per cent growth rate in the short term," Sir Michael said.
"Over a five-year plan they could probably get there but that will cause bumps along the road. In my view, that's the big deal."