(Bloomberg) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping urged deeper reforms for some of the country’s key sectors as investors look for hints on major policy shifts to be revealed at the upcoming party conclave.

Xi highlighted areas including property, employment and childcare as in need of reform breakthroughs at a symposium in Shandong province on Thursday, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency. Changes should be aimed at benefiting people’s livelihoods, and giving the population a sense of advancement and security, it said.

While there were no further details, the report offers clues as to potential focus areas for China’s long-awaited plenum in July. The closed-door conclave is one of the most important events on the country’s political calendar and sets Beijing’s long-term agenda. 

The third plenum tend to focus on broad economic and political goals, a legacy of the 1978 meeting where Deng Xiaoping unveiled changes to open up China’s economy. In 2013, for example, Xi used the conclave to introduce plans to change the country’s one-child policy, household registry system and set the tone for putting more emphasis on national security.

Xi made the reform remarks this week during a meeting with Chinese executives and academics, which was also attended by a smattering of foreigners. While the Chinese leader often meets with overseas executives, including at a major business forum this year, public details of sitdowns with domestic entrepreneurs are less common. 

Xi held such talks with mostly domestic entrepreneurs in 2018 and 2020, for example, in a bid to shore up business confidence.

The symposium’s guest list included prominent economists who have called for land reforms and more stimulus, according to state media’s coverage of the event.

Also present were business leaders from state-owned enterprises such State Power Investment Corporation, private firms including Anta Sports Products Ltd, and foreign multinational companies like Bosch (China) Investment Ltd. Hans Duisters, chief executive officer of Sioux Technologies — which provides tech solutions for Chinese chip, healthcare and communications companies — was also shown at the event.

This year’s third plenum will occur against a backdrop of an unbalanced economic recovery as a protracted housing crisis and weak consumer sentiment drag on growth. During a meeting with US business leaders in March, Xi said the country is planning “major measures to comprehensively deepen reforms,” raising expectations that more policies will be unveiled.

--With assistance from Evelyn Yu and Yujing Liu.

(Updates throughout.)

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