Xi Jinping will inherit China’s slowest economic growth in three decades when he takes over as China’s supreme leader at next month’s Communist Party congress, said Kevin Hamlin in Bloomberg.com. Downturns in the U.S. and Europe have tamed the country’s breakneck expansion, and the “young labor force that filled China’s factories is starting to shrink.” Xi, 59, has signaled that he’s ready to adopt fast-paced reforms in order to stave off further economic malaise. But exactly what those reforms might be is still in question. Xi, a princeling—as privileged offspring of former leaders are called—has sent mixed signals about the depth of his commitment to a balanced economy, showing support for both a market-friendly approach and state-owned enterprises. 

During a stint as a local official 30 years ago in rural Hebei province, Xi made a name for himself by pushing “market-oriented reforms when they were still considered cutting edge,” said Ian Johnson in The New York Times. He used his family connections to push through policies that allowed grain farmers to use their land more lucratively, and launched a local television industry that is still “touted as an example of his visionary economic leadership.”