The Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal

China’s economy faces deeper problems than its slowing growth

By Stella Yifan Xie and Jason Douglas

17 Jan 2023 · 4 min read

China has long held the ambition of leapfrogging the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy. But as the Journal reports, that task has been made harder by a strengthening demographic headwind.

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HONG KONG—China’s latest economic data showed that the country’s zero-Covid policies led to one of the slowest growth rates in decades last year. But economists say another figure released the same day will be a bigger problem for China’s economy in the future: Its shrinking population.

China has already rolled back the zero-Covid policies that restrained growth for much of 2022, setting the stage for a recovery this year. The U-turn on its pandemic policies was part of a broad policy reset aimed at boosting the economy, including an easing of regulations on the property sector and signals that the clampdown on the tech sector has ended.

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