The China Business Summit 2006 is to open in Beijing tomorrow as a co-project of the China Enterprise Confederation and the World Economic Forum (WEF).
More than 500 participants from 27 countries are expected to take part in the two-day event, which aims to bring together key stakeholders to rethink and reshape China's growth and industry agendas.
"A China well on its way to achieving balanced development with an emphasis on trade integration and cross-border flows" is what Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, described as his "optimal scenario" for China in 20 years.
Schwab said in an interview with China Daily yesterday that China will achieve the scenario when "it is backed by well-executed financial, legal and administrative reforms and the progressive emergence of a middle class and internal market."
The WEF was founded in 1971, calling itself an independent organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It is convened in Davos, Switzerland every winter.
Schwab, who first visited China in 1979, said he is filled with admiration for China's dramatic transformation to what it is today.
China has achieved extraordinary growth for nearly three decades -- all the more impressive given the scale and magnitude of the Chinese economy, he said. It has thus "played a leadership role in propelling global economic growth."
China's economy, as measured in terms of gross domestic product, amounted to 18.3085 trillion yuan (US$2.289 trillion) in 2005, based on 10.2-percent annualized growth from the previous year, according to figures from China's National Bureau of Statistics.
At the same time, Schwab said, the country has faced significant challenges both at home and abroad.
"Domestically, China's leadership has carved an ambitious development path based on scientific and technological advancement while protecting the environment and enhancing social harmony," he said.
"Externally, China's leading position in the global economy calls for a greater role in addressing global economic imbalances and promoting closer economic collaboration."
Schwab stressed that innovation is the key to tackling future challenges. "Amid rising global commodity prices and increasing domestic wage pressures, China needs to become much more resource efficient."
To be truly competitive globally, he said, "China must create greater value out of ideas, products and processes, all of which form the very essence of innovation."
That's why the China Business Summit 2006 takes "sustainable growth through innovation" as its theme, Schwab said.
He said China has been producing formidable global industry players such as Lenovo. "As domestic companies restructure, innovate and internationalize, there is definitely potential for more Chinese companies to emerge as global champions," he added.
In view of this, the WEF has especially chosen China as the headquarters of those global growth companies that have demonstrated clear potential to become leaders in the world economy.
The Annual Meeting of Global Growth Companies (dubbed "Summer Davos in China") will be held for the first time in China in August 2007. The host city is to be determined by the end of this month via a bidding system.
Like the WEF's annual meeting in Davos, the China event will be an independent platform for global leaders to shape international, regional and industry agendas, according to Schwab.
"The event will feature industry-specific meetings of global business leaders to address the unique opportunities presented by global growth companies, allowing them to exchange best practices and address their common interests and challenges," Schwab said.
He added it also presents an extraordinary opportunity to showcase China's emerging multinationals.
(China Daily September 9, 2006)