China will hit an economic 'speed bump' in the 2030s, one key innovator says. Here's why

  • James Liang, chairman of online travel platform Ctrip, says Beijing's One Child Policy could mean China's growth potential has a sell-by-date.

China's famous One Child Policy could mean that the economic powerhouse's growth potential has a sell-by-date, according to James Liang, co-founder and chairman of Chinese online travel platform Ctrip.

Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Liang attributed Beijing's economic success over the past decade to its "huge young cohort of innovators" born under former Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.

Discussing the One Child Policy, he said: "The fact that's still underappreciated by most economists is how important demographics is."

The introduction of the One Child Policy in 1979 has resulted in an ageing population in China.

Liang said: "After 2030-40, you have a much smaller cohort (of young workers). Overall, the demographics of the Chinese workforce will become much older. By that time China will hit a kind of speed bump.

"The age of the demographics, the size of the population — especially the young population — is critical for innovation. Going forward, China will still enjoy 10 to 20 years of very healthy demographics."

China began unwinding its One Child Policy in late 2015, extending it instead to allow couples to have two children.