Prior to his visit to the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2007 in Hainan Province, one objective was clear in the mind of Xu Zongheng – to learn how to help his city's companies go global. In his role as the mayor of Shenzhen, Xu seeks to capitalize on the chances the BFA offers to be inspired by exchanges between the world's foremost business leaders and economists and to carve an optimum developmental path for his city.
(The first (R) is Xu Zongheng, the mayor of Shenzhen)
Shenzhen stands out as a miracle of Chinese economic development and urban construction, since it was named the nation's first Special Economic Zone by late leader Deng Xiaoping. Unfortunately, its development credit may be maxed out given the obstacles it faces in terms of dwindling land supply and soaring population.
"With ever more fierce competition, developed countries take the lion's share through their economic, scientific and comprehensive clout, occupying the high-end position in many industries. In dealing with the fall-out of globalization, should developing countries fail to take an active participation in the global market, they will perpetually be chained to the bottom of the value chain," said Mayor Xu.
Through attending several panel discussions with international luminaries at the BFA Annual Conference, Xu realized that this was the ideal venue to return to Shenzhen from with renewed inspiration. At a panel discussion entitled "Asian Values: the Success of Asian Global Enterprises" on Saturday afternoon, he found further confirmation that Chinese enterprises must actively seek to join the global competition after listening to the views of CEOs from several domestic and foreign companies.
This viewpoint is firmly shared by Mark Fuller, chairman and CEO of Monitor Group of US, who also participated in yesterday's panel discussion. He explained that Chinese companies must seize the day in going global at once. "Sometimes the entire purpose of going global is a quest for profit but there may be other reasons. When looking at the history of successful companies in the world, we view their multi-layered methods in going global, to expand their knowledge, to widen their skill set, to gain new insights and finally to upgrade their standards."
"Mergers and acquisitions are a very important option in going global, one I would encourage Chinese companies to consider," said Fuller. "However, other options exist such as organic growth – the purposes of relying on the bases of domestic success to build up their own channel and brand. This may take longer but it is more sustainable and more conducive to long-term success than acquisitions."
A third option is also provided by innovation, especially in terms of products and services. "Thus, if I were a Chinese company, I would take into account mergers and acquisitions but I would not rule out organic approaches at the same time, since a combination of these two techniques might prove most likely to succeed," concluded Mark Fuller.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Wang Qian, April 22, 2007)