China Development Forum Signals ‘China is Reopened for Business’

After nearly three years of strict COVID control, China has rebooted its China Development Forum in offline mode with physical attendance from business leaders from China and abroad from 25 to 27 March 2023.

Among representatives of Fortune 500 in attendance, we may highlight Alliance group CEO Oliver Bate, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Bridgewater Founder Ray Dalio, Hitachi CEO Toshiaki Higashihara, Pfizer CEO Albert Bouria, Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm and Samsung Chairman Lee Jae-yong.

Despite tensions between China and the USA, the American CEOs feel they can still balance the geopolitical risks with the economic gains. For instance, Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his commitment to work in China while at the same time moving some production to India in a bid to improve global supply chain resilience. Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant Foxconn is one of the companies making Apple products in China and it has recently decided to diversify its manufacturing base by expanding its production in Vietnam.

At the same time, TikTok CEO Shou Zi CHEW was being grilled during the Congressional hearing in DC which contrasted with the red carpet treatment given to Apple CEO Tim Cook in Beijing. Thus, the Chinese authorities have been quick to highlight the difference in treatment accorded to foreign companies by China and USA.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva appears still optimistic about the uptick in economic growth by China coming out of its Zero-COVID policy. China plays a driving role in the world economy since a 1% in the Chinese economy contributes to 0.3% growth in other Asian economies. China’s targeted growth rate for 2023 is 5.2%, which is above the world average at 3%.

On the investment front, China registered nearly USD 190 billion in FDI in 2022. To further boost investment, China is committed to more opening up and reforms in favor of foreign enterprises.

ZHENG Shanjie, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, underscored the huge potential and sound development of the Chinese economy which is providing great opportunities for local and foreign investors. “Investing in China is investing in the future,” Zheng stated.

Chinese Foreign Minister QIN Gang delivered his remarks around the theme “Forging Ahead on the New Journey toward a Community with Shared Future for Mankind.” He pointed out that the Global Development Initiative (#GDI) represents an effort to attain the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG).