Chen Yuan
BornJanuary 1945 (age 79)
CitizenshipPeople's Republic of China
Alma materBeijing No.4 High School
OccupationChairman of China Association for International Friendly Contact
ChildrenXiaoxin (Charles) Chen
Xiaodan (Sabrina) Chen

Chen Yuan (Chinese: 陈元, born in January 1945) is a Chinese economist who is the current chairman of the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC).[1] He was previously the chairman of the China Development Bank from March 1998 to April 2013. Chen Yuan then served as Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 2013 to 2018. He is the eldest son of former Vice Premier Chen Yun.[2]: 63 


Chen Yuan graduated with a master's degree in Industrial Economics from the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where he studied under the supervision of economists Yu Guangyuan and Ma Hong. He was appointed secretary of the Xicheng District Committee of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and director-general of the Beijing Municipal Commerce and Trade Department in August 1982.

He assumed the post of deputy secretary of the leading party members' group and vice governor of the People's Bank of China in March 1988. Chen's leadership at the People's Bank of China was noteworthy. It was a time when China was just opening up trading with the West. Prior to 1988, when Chen joined PBOC, there were almost no international reserves. However, by 1992, as trade increased, the foreign reserves also started to grow as a result of the international trade to over US$10 billion. Thus, Chen was charged with helping to turn the People's Bank of China into a modern central bank. As one of the key things he did, he brought in outside advisors such as William Lawton, a noted fixed income and currency expert who was a Senior Vice President in charge of global fixed income at Trust Company of the West, a well-known international asset management company headquartered in Los Angeles. Chen oversaw the implementation, under Lawton's supervision, of risk guidelines for the Bank, utilization of research models such as the Lawton Bond Model, and upgrading of the computer and trading systems. It was under Chen's leadership and foresight that PBOC was put on a firm footing to become the world's largest central bank in a little over a decade.[citation needed]

Chen was appointed China Development Bank's governor in April 1998.[3]: 34  Chen implemented reforms designed to increase CDB's autonomy by reducing state involvement in CDB's fundraising and lending.[3]: 34 

Following the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, Chen was among the Chinese policymakers who favored China shifting from its traditionally passive management of its foreign exchange reserves to a more active approach.[2]: 63  Chen's view was that China should hedge against increasing commodity prices and the falling US dollar by using its foreign exchange reserves to buy energy and mineral assets.[2]: 63 

He has been the Chairman of the China Finance 40 Forum (CF40) since its founding in 2008.[4][5]

In 2013, Chen became a vice chair of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.[3]: 84 


  1. ^ "陈元 - 会长 - 中国国际友好联络会". China Association for International Friendly Contact. Retrieved 2022-12-26.
  2. ^ a b c Liu, Zongyuan Zoe (2023). Sovereign Funds: How the Communist Party of China Finances its Global Ambitions. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. doi:10.2307/jj.2915805. ISBN 9780674271913. JSTOR jj.2915805.
  3. ^ a b c Chen, Muyang (2024). The Latecomer's Rise: Policy Banks and the Globalization of China's Development Finance. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9781501775857.
  4. ^ "Organizational Structure". CF40.
  5. ^ Michael Forsythe, Henry Sanderson (June 2011). "Financing China Costs Poised to Rise With CDB Losing Sovereign-Debt Status". Bloomberg Market Magazine.