Chinese President visits Shanghai for first time in three years as economy falters

Chinese president xi jinping china

Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited Shanghai for the first time in three years. This comes as his government steps up efforts to support the country’s economy and financial markets, CNN reported.

Xi made the trip on Tuesday and Wednesday and he visited the Shanghai Futures Exchange, a tech exhibition in the Zhangjiang High-tech Park, and a government-subsidised rental housing community, according to Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese President was accompanied by top government officials, including Vice Premier He Lifeng and Cai Qi, his chief of staff.

The Chinese President’s visit, his first since 2020, comes as business confidence wanes in China and foreign companies pull out of the country.

China’s economy is stagnating after decades of rapid expansion. It’s affected by a series of problems, including a real estate crisis, record youth unemployment, debt-ridden local governments and a rapidly ageing population.

The country’s tighter business control and strained relations with the West are scaring away foreign investors. A gauge of foreign direct investment into China has turned negative for the first time since 1998.

Data released by the Chinese government on Thursday showed the official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index slipped to 49.4 in November from 49.5 in October, signalling a further contraction in factory output. Last month, the PMI unexpectedly shrank from September amid weak demand, according to CNN.

“General Secretary Xi Jinping’s visit to Shanghai sends important signals at a critical moment,” an editorial by Xinhua said on Thursday.

“Finance should better serve the real economy,” it said, adding that Xi’s inspection of the Shanghai Futures Exchange showed his “high priority and ardent expectations” towards building China into a financial powerhouse.

Xi’s visit to the sci-tech exhibition highlighted the “core position” of scientific and technological innovation in the overall development of the country, the commentary said. The president was seen inspecting a walking humanoid robot at the sci-tech exhibition, according to a video posted by state television CCTV.

Xi said: “Shanghai must be a vanguard of the country’s reform and opening up and a pioneer in its tech innovation and development.”

The Chinese government recently ramped up efforts to promote growth and stabilize the financial markets, as per CNN. 

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