The two ‘Li’s and their roles in China’s present and future

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China’s premier and No 2 leader Li Keqiang is expected to pass the baton on to Mr Li Qiang in the upcoming session of the National People’s Congress. Here is a look at the former’s legacy and what might be expected of the latter.

BEIJING – When Li Keqiang assumed China’s premiership in March 2013, he inherited a plethora of problems, including a mountain of non-performing loans spawned by a 4 trillion yuan (S$780 billion) stimulus package that his immediate predecessor Wen Jiabao pushed out in 2008 to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis.

Economists at UK brokerage firm and investment adviser Barclays Capital coined the word “Likonomics” – a portmanteau of the premier’s surname and economics – in late 2013 to refer to his signature three-pronged approach to China’s predicament: debt reduction, no more stimulus and structural reforms.

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