(MENAFN - AFP) Chinese President Hu Jintao told a pivotal Communist Party congress on Thursday that China should accelerate the creation of a new growth model as the country's economy slows.
"In response to changes in both domestic and international economic developments, we should speed up the creation of a new growth model and ensure that development is based on improved quality and performance," Hu told more than 2,200 delegates at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
Hu spoke as the party embarked on a once-a-decade leadership transition that culminates next week with the expected ascent of Vice President Xi Jinping to the party leadership, replacing Hu.
Concern over the Chinese economy -- the world's second-largest -- has mounted both in China and around the world as its usually super-charged growth rates ebb in the global slowdown.
The economy notched its worst quarterly growth performance -- 7.4 percent in the three months until September -- since the first quarter of 2009.
China has been hit by weak demand for its exports from Europe, the United States and Japan.
Hu said China should "ensure that the private sector of the economy competes on a level playing field" with China's state-owned sector and "allow public ownership to take more diverse forms," although he gave no details.
He also said China will aim to "double 2010 GDP and per capita income" by 2020.
That would translate into around seven percent annual growth in gross domestic product during that period. China's economic growth target for 2012 is 7.5 percent.