Chinese president Xi Jinping has defended globalisation, stressing there will be "no winners" in a trade war and blaming the financial crisis on a combination of geopolitical issues and relentless profit-chasing.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Chinese president said globalisation has become a "Pandora's Box" for many, but it was futile to blame it for the woes affecting the world.

The recent rise of populism across Europe and in the US has seen globalisation come under criticism, particularly from US President-elect Donald Trump, but Xi dismissed calls for protectionism.

"Protectionism is like locking yourself in a dark room, which would seem to escape wind and rain, but also block out the sunshine," he said. "No one is a winner in a trade war."

However, Xi, the first Chinese president to speak at the annual economic forum, conceded the modern world faced momentous challenges.

He added the issues of terrorism and the flow of refugees needed addressing, although he stressed both had been caused by conflict and regional political turmoil rather than by opening up the markets.

"There is no point in blaming economic globalisation for the world's problems because that is simply not the case," he said.

"And that will not help to solve the problems."

Xi was also eager to highlight the world's that second-largest economy "will keep its door wide open, and not close it" as far as trading opportunities were concerned. He added China's economy was entering a "new normal" phase after years of recording double-digit growth.

"We have 1.3 billion people, and their living standards are not yet high," he said.

"The aim is to achieve 'medium to high' level growth, and move the economy to the higher end of the supply chain."

In what many would consider a direct message to Trump, Xi stated that over the coming five years, China expects to import $8trn of US goods and make $750bn of outbound investment, while Chinese tourists are expected to make 700 million visits overseas.