Multinational companies in China have long complained of protectionism, saying that the government supports only its own, which creates unfair competition. The murky regulatory environment has also made operating in the world’s second-largest economy a bit of a minefield.

But this also needs to change, Bürkner said, explaining that China will need to open up to more trade and investment in order to shore up continued growth. Allowing a more level playing field for companies to compete in all sectors is necessary “to make sure millions of companies will come up and to create jobs,” he said.

Managing unemployment is an issue that Beijing has long identified as an area for progress. This year, the government has pledged to create 11 million new urban jobs, and has set aside funds for resettling laid-off workers. But the question remains whether that will be enough to keep pace with the number of displaced workers, and the skilled graduates coming from universities each year.

Despite the headwinds, Bürkner sounded a positive tone, saying “there’s a lot more confidence today and this year … that China will deliver 6.5 percent growth.”

Correction: This article and its headline have been altered to accurately reflect what Hans-Paul Bürkner, chairman of Boston Consulting Group, told CNBC.