Xi and his colleague have a lot of immediate challenges ahead of them. There is growing public anger and unrest over everything from corruption to pollution. There has been a spike in self-immolations in China's Tibetan regions to protest the Communist Party's heavy-handed rule.
Then there is the China's economy. It is still growing at a rate many other countries in the world would envy, but it is beginning to show signs of a legitimate slowdown.
Such factors threaten what the Communist Party craves most: stability.
At the end of his speech, Xi reached out to the media in the room, especially the foreign press. It was something his predecessor never did.
"China needs to know more about the world, the world needs to know more about China," he said.
Xi clearly sought to make a first impression, signaling perhaps a break from the stuffy rigidity of the past decade.
Right now it is too early to tell what kind of leader Xi will be. Not only does the world need to know more about Xi, but China still needs to know more about him.