REFORM CREDENTIALS: Considered a cautious reformer, having spent time in top positions in the coastal Fujian & Zhejiang provinces, both at the forefront of China’s economic reforms.
Xi Jinping, 59, is China’s Vice-President and will take over as the head of state in March. Xi belongs to the party’s “princeling’ generation, the offspring of communist revolutionaries.
REFORM CREDENTIALS: Seen as another cautious reformer due to his relatively liberal university experiences.
Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, 57, is the man tipped to be China’s next premier. Li served in challenging party chief posts in Liaoning, a frigid northeastern rustbelt province, and rural Henan province, where he was accused by activists of cracking down on them after an AIDS scandal.
REFORM CREDENTIALS: A conservative trained in North Korea.
Zhang Dejiang, 65, saw his chances of promotion boosted this year when he was chosen to replace disgraced politician Bo Xilai as Chongqing party boss. He also serves as vice-premier in charge of industry, though his record has been tarnished by the downfall of the railway minister in 2011 for graft. On his watch as party chief of Guangdong, the province maintained itself as a powerhouse of China’s growth, even as it struggled with energy shortages, graft-fuelled unrest and the 2003 SARS epidemic.
REFORM CREDENTIALS: Relatively low-key but considered a cautious reformer.
Yu Zhengsheng, 67, is party boss in China’s financial hub and most cosmopolitan city, Shanghai. Yu joined the Politburo in 2002. However, the princeling’s age would require him to retire in 2017 after one term.
REFORM CREDENTIALS: A conservative who has kept domestic media on a leash.
Liu Yunshan, 65, may take over the propaganda and ideology portfolio for the Standing Committee. As minister of the party’s Propaganda Department since 2002, Liu has also sought to control the internet in China. He has been a member of the Politburo for two terms
REFORM CREDENTIALS: A financial reformer & problem solver with deep experience tackling tricky economic and political problems.
Wang Qishan, 64, is the most junior of the four vice-premiers and an ex-mayor of Beijing. But he has a keen grasp of complex economic issues and is the only likely member of the Standing Committee to have been CEO of the China Construction Bank. He is likely to lead the fight against corruption.
REFORM CREDENTIALS: A financial reformer with experience in more developed parts of China.
Zhang Gaoli, 65, party chief of the northern port city of Tianjin, is an