What China's Elections Tell Us

Focus: GLOBAL

Benjamin Shepherd Image Benjamin Shepherd Analyst, Breakthrough Tech Profits, Global Income Edge and Personal Finance

China just held its once-a-decade leadership transition and Japan will hold elections in December, so what can we learn from the political tides in Asia? Benjamin Shepherd of Investing Daily explains.

Elections in the US, the world's largest economy, have concluded. Now it's the turn of the world's second-largest economic power to solidify its choice of leaders.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently announced that Xi Jinping has taken the reins as the party's general secretary as expected, and will also, unexpectedly, be taking charge of the military.

Much has been written about Xi over the past few months, as Westerners handicap the odds of political reform in the wake of the Politburo Standing Committee's changes. The reality is that scant concrete information is available on him or any of his colleagues. While the Chinese have released what amounts to broad-brush resumes for Xi, none of us know anything beyond what the CCP has told us.

In fact, the CCP has worked hard to build images of Xi and Li Keqiang, who will be the country's next premier, as men who understand both the internal and external challenges China faces. Within China, economic growth is slowing and corruption is a growing problem; externally, China is still locked in a territorial dispute with the Japanese and working to project its influence throughout the developing world.

But even given that backdrop, most China watchers agree that there's never been a public relations campaign of this magnitude in advance of a Politburo transition.