Fortune forum opens in Chengdu

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The Fortune Global Forum 2013 opened today in Chengdu, focusing on the critical role the capital of Sichuan Province is playing in China's efforts to shift economic development to western inland regions of the country and encourage urbanization away from the crowded eastern seaboard.

The forum has brought global business leaders and high-ranking government officials together, under the theme of "China's New Future."

Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune Magazine, said the choice of Chengdu to host this year's conference underscores three important trends in China – trends that have repercussions for international business.

"First is the development of western China," Serwer said earlier. "Second is urbanization, and third is the story of China's economic transition."

China's "Go West" policies have brought increased prosperity and relevance to underdeveloped regions in recent years, and the transition to a consumer-based economy is extremely visible in western China and is of increasingly importance for the global economy, he added.

The forum officially begins at 3pm when Serwer and top officials from Sichuan deliver welcoming remarks. Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will give the keynote address at a banquet tonight.

CEOs from multinational companies like DuPont, JP Morgan Chase, Amway and Dell will be hobnobbing with Chinese business leaders who include the chairman of Internet search giant Baidu and Geely, the domestic automaker that bought Volvo.

The agenda calls for discussions related to the advancement of technology, the rise of emerging markets, trends in new consumerism and the power of young talent.

The heads of state-owned enterprises such as China Railway Group and renowned economists from at home and abroad will also participate in the forum.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with associates of some forum participants yesterday in Beijing, encouraging multinational companies to expand investment in China and further localize their businesses to make better use of growth opportunities in China.

Li said China will deepen its economic reforms and further open its markets to the outside world.

Chengdu is the fourth Chinese city to host the annual Fortune Global Forum. It was previously held in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.

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