LONDON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that China's degree of success will determine global growth, and determine whether the 21st century would be the Asian century.
In a column article issued by Reuters on Thursday, Brown, who attended the annual Summer Davos Forum opened on Wednesday in Dalian, a costal city in northeast China, said Chinese officials will reveal how long China will need to make the transition from an investment-led, middle-income country to an innovative, consumer-driven, high-income one, and thus when it will become the world's largest economy.
"Can China circumvent what we know as 'the middle-income trap' that has for decades denied high-income status for Latin America and Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand?" he asked.
The challenges that China's new leadership faces in pushing for rising levels of innovation, entrepreneurship and skills will be the main discussion points this week at the New Champions summit in Dalian, the former British prime minister said.
Brown, who service as British prime minister from 2007 to 2010, is currently the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, also quoted Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as saying that China "can no longer afford to continue with the old model of consumption and high investment."
Recalling the history of China's development in recent years, Brown said under the first wave of modernization, China's progress to middle-income status has been astounding and dramatic.
"In the first decade of the century, China became the world's largest manufacturer. In 2009, China surpassed Germany as the world's largest exporter. In 2010 it passed the U.S. to become the world's largest car producer," according to Brown.
He predicted that China would depend less on exports to the West. In the last decade, merchandise exports to developing economies have already doubled, to 25 percent.
Brown pointed out that China should no longer rely on "one-off" advantages such as the move from an agricultural to an industrial economy, comparatively low-cost labor, and the boost from membership in the WTO.
"China knows it will have to move quickly to exploit the "Third Industrial Revolution" from 3D printing and digital design to nanotechnology, biotechnology and genetics, hence its one million research and development workers and its plans for 100 million more graduates," he said.
Brown also noted that most important barriers to long-term success are the disparities in wealth, now being addressed under Chinese premier's desire to "promote social equity."