China's economy still has substantial growth potential due to its sheer size and policy agility, experts said at recent annual gatherings of The Committee of 100, a non-profit U.S. organization of prominent Chinese Americans.
Despite slowing birth rates, China will continue to be among the most populous countries in the world, and productivity will continue to increase to offset aging population, said Amy Celico, a principal of Albright Stonebridge Group, who leads the global business strategy firm's China team.
Technology, infrastructure, education, and health care standards make advances in China in addition to the Chinese government's ability to correct its course, said Celico at a debate on China's role in leading economy organized by The Committee of 100.
"The government is also making long term bets on infrastructure and technology, promoting the private sector and other building blocks of productivity growth that will yield dividends," Celico said.
The untapped potential of China's private sector is another reason to bet on China inevitably becoming the global economic power and there's still room for private enterprises to ring out further efficiencies in the economy and play a larger role in stimulating growth, she said.
China also enjoys favorable effect of scale as it has 800 million people online, 8 million students graduating from colleges each year and the second largest number of unicorn companies -- or private companies worth at least 1 billion U.S. -- in the world, said Dali Yang, professor of political science at the University of Chicago.
Chinese parents really want their children to have the opportunities that they didn't have in the past, said Yang, who is also a member of The Committee of 100, whose gathering to mark its 30th anniversary ended on Sunday.
"So in that sense, what is happening in China, therefore, is that they are already investing in the future," Yang said.
"We all know the famous Chinese obsession with education. And I'm very much in agreement that this is one of the remarkable strengths ... this is certainly one reason why China is as strong as it is," said Jeremy Goldkorn, editor in chief with an independent digital media company SupChina.
"I work at a consulting firm. China is our biggest practice because American, European and Asian companies and non-profits want to participate in China because of the potential there," added Celico.
China is taking much more active leadership of the United Nations and certainly Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank is an example of real leadership as the Belt and Road Initiative, Celico noted.
The country has quite a nimble government style right now that allows it to adapt and China's leadership will continue to make course corrections when needed, said Celico.
The Chinese government is opening up a new bourse in Shanghai, which is already accepting applications for Nasdaq-style listings, added Yang, who just returned from a trip to China.
Every nation that has reached China's per capita income has faced wrenching domestic challenges and even crises on the road to making the next leap, said Daniel H. Rosen, a partner with independent research provider Rhodium Group.
China needs a lot of governance to retain people who have assets in the country to raise income levels to around 20,000 dollars per capita, said Rosen, who tracks China's development closely.
Already this year, the Chinese government has moved to improve efficiency, power its private sector and open up further to foreign investment, added Celico.
Around two-thirds of respondents agree that it's inevitable that China will become the world's leading economy, according to an on-site poll with 21 members of the Committee of 100 present at the debate.