China's transition to a consumer-driven economy is no small task, likely requiring many years and the overcoming of many obstacles along the way, the Conference Board predicts. "The state-led, investment-driven growth model that has been driving growth for the last 30 years, closely related to exports, needs to diminish. The investment model relies on consumer savings, household savings and investment in real estate to survive. So you have this difficult shift where the investment model needs to be de-emphasized without slowing the economy too much and at the same time consumption drivers need to be enhanced," said the board's China expert, David Hoffman.

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