Communist China’s five-year plan: how Beijing steers its economy

May 28, 2020 by

As China’s global influence increases and its rivalry with the US intensifies, analysts will be watching this year’s “two sessions” of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference for clues as to Beijing’s economic and social priorities, strategies and worries. These areas are likely to be the focus for China’s 14th five-year plan, the blueprint that sets the direction of the world’s second-largest economy.

Who drafts the plans?

As the 13th five-year plan draws to a close, the government is expected to set the direction of the next plan this autumn before it is tabled for the national legislature’s approval next March.

During the planned economy era, the State Planning Commission was key to drafting the five-year plans. The agency went through several transformations as China moved towards a market economy in the 1980s to become the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in 2003.

With the power to approve investment projects, the NDRC expanded into a super-ministry and became the target of lobbying by local governments and big corporates. Its portfolio has been reduced since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013.


Beijing looks to the Soviet Union’s model of economic planning to prepare its 1st five-year plan. The plan is sent back to the drawing board several times before official approval in mid-1955 as 150 Russian-backed defence, mechanical, electrical, chemical and energy projects are given the go-ahead to build China’s industrial capacity, virtually from scratch.

continued: China’s five-year plan: how Beijing steers its economy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.