Global firms see unprecedented opportunities in China

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 11, 2021
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The venue of the 4th CIIE held in Shanghai from Nov. 5-10, 2021. [Photo by Zhang Rui/]

During the 4th China International Import Expo (CIIE), global business leaders told about their excitement over unprecedented opportunities in China thanks to the country's commitment to further opening-up.

20 years in WTO and beyond

This year marks two decades since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). For Leon Wang, executive vice president of AstraZeneca, "the two decades since then have been a period of deep integration, shared opportunity and joint growth between China and the rest of the world."

With regards to China actively building a "dual-circulation" development pattern, he believes that "this has also provided unprecedented opportunities for foreign enterprises to seek development in China."

Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of L'Oreal, said China is a very competitive market, while for them it is also a long success story. " China's participation in the WTO — I think it's a strong sign of the opening-up and we've seen many positive evolution, stable context, tax reductions and more importantly, a real desire to foster innovation."

Flags of countries, regions and organizations outside the venue of the 4th CIIE in Shanghai, Nov. 6, 2021. [Photo by Zhang Rui/]

Jean-Christophe Pointeau, president of Pfizer China, said China is one of the largest and most important pharmaceutical markets in the world, stating: "Economic transformation has generated a large number of middle class; their demands for medicine and healthcare are increasing."

He noted that as an open, innovative and cooperative platform, CIIE has become an important window on economic development in China, a booster for promoting medical innovations and a solid measure for accelerating the accessibility of breakthrough products.

Positive outlook amid US-China tension

Ben Duncan, the president of North Asia and CEO of Greater China, Advisory Services, CBRE, noted that there has certainly been an uptick in international tensions, such as between the United States and China. However, he added, "I don't think it has changed the way we see China or the market or the opportunity."

He is also aware that there has been much speculation about the impact of these increased tensions on international companies expanding and growing in China. "I think I can say unequivocally in the clients that we serve, on balance, the vast majority plan to invest more, to expand more in China than those that are planning to withdraw," he said.

More to join China feast

A total of 58 countries and three international organizations participated in the Comprehensive Country Exhibition this year, with 15 countries making their debut at this online exhibition. Among them, the Republic of the Congo, Kiribati, Mauritius, Solomon Islands and Palestine are participating in CIIE for the first time. There is also a Belt and Road section at this year's expo.

The Trade and Investment Matchmaking Conference, held during the 4th CIIE, in Shanghai. [Photo by Zhang Rui/]

Sun Chenghai, deputy director-general of the CIIE Bureau, believes that CIIE is a platform for building a community with a shared future for mankind.

China has become Swarovski's largest market in the world after over 30 years of promoting the brand in the country, said Tony Wei, managing director of Swarovski's Crystal Business in Greater China. 

The 126-year-old Austrian fashion brand, which has witnessed increasingly enhanced exchanges and cooperation between China and Austria, plans to increase strategic investment in China over the coming years, and is optimistic about the Chinese government's continued opening-up. 

Paul Huang, senior vice president of the Lego Group and general manager of Lego China, expressed his appreciation that the open, friendly business environment "benefits foreign companies such as ours." He pointed out that China's 14th Five-Year Plan announced earlier this year is an example of this, and a strong commitment from the government to further accelerate opening up. "China is an important strategic growth market for us," he said. "We will continue to invest in China and Chinese society."

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