China's Xi says he will 'serve the people'

President Xi Jinping has promised to "serve the people" and pursue the ruling Communist Party's "Chinese dream" of strength and prosperity.

"We must make persistent efforts, press ahead with indomitable will, continue to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to achieve the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," said Xi, who also leads the Communist Party.

His government would work to meet people's aspirations, fight corruption and "serve the people," he said on Sunday, in his first public speech since he was appointed president on Thursday.

"We must resolutely reject formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, and resolutely fight against corruption and other misconduct in all manifestations," Xi said.

Xi paid tribute to his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who stepped down as party leader in November and state president on Thursday after 10 years in power.

Hu stood to receive applause from some 3000 delegates at the closing of the annual parliament.

Xi also praised the party's previous leaders since Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China in 1949.

The slogan "serve the people" was used in a speech by Mao in 1944 and can still be seen in Mao's handwriting on buildings across China.

The country's ceremonial legislature wrapped up a pivotal session on Sunday that installed the latest generation of communist leaders in a once-a-decade transfer of power.