As the global meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) comes
from the Swiss ski resort Davos, where it has been held for
decades, to an oriental port city, the world once again casts its
eyes to China.
"It has been 36 years since the inception of the forum in 1971.
Starting from this year, the forum will hold an annual Summer Davos
in China. This shows the world's increasing interest in China's
economic development and the growing cooperation between China and
the forum," said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the opening session
of the Dalian meeting.
China's economy, which has maintained rapid growth for almost 30
years, shall keep its momentum, said the premier firmly in his
keynote speech. "We need to pursue the right domestic and foreign
policies and be able to adapt to change to fully seize these
opportunities and make good use of these favorable conditions," he
The premier dismissed speculation that China's rise in the world
would pose threat to other countries. "As China's development has
shown and will continue to show, a prosperous, democratic,
harmonious, civilized and modernized China will make even greater
contribution to maintaining world peace and promoting human
progress," he said.
"China has been one of the world's fastest growing economies for
two decades," said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of
the WEF. "Many of the new champions are coming from Asia, so Dalian
will be a second pillar in the East to complement Davos in the
Schwab expressed the belief that the summer meeting will be a
success and stay in China for the long run, noting that more and
more Chinese growth companies are taking active part in
globalization as China emerges as an economic power and wield
greater influence in global economy.
James J. Schiro, group chief executive officer and chairman of
the group management board of Zurich Financial Services from
Switzerland and mentor of the WEF, said at the meeting that he
welcomed China's "peaceful rise and Chinese enterprises involved in
the global arena."
The three-day meeting, known as the Inaugural Annual Meeting of
the New Champions, has drawn nearly 2,000 participants including
government officials, scholars and business leaders from 90
countries and regions.
Ten plenary sessions and nearly 80 panel discussions shall be
carried out during the meeting, focusing on the roles played by the
new generation of fast-growing multinational companies. Other
issues like global warming, world economy and combating AIDS will
also be touched upon.
In particular, one-fifth of the meeting's topics are about
China, including the outlook of China's capital market, consumer
market, policy environment, intellectual property right (IPR)
protection, areas with growth potentials, service sector,
resolution to growth tension, opportunity of the Olympic Games,
According to the forum's Web site, participants in the WEF's
annual meeting in January 2007 recognized that a new class of
leaders and innovators, the so-called new champions, have emerged
and are re-shaping business and transforming society. This Summer
Davos is thus served as "a platform for interaction and cooperation
between traditional and new actors, between East and West".
"The attention around China is going to stay on for a long time
because China is soon to be one of the largest economies, if not
the largest, in the world," Lee Howell, Asian department director
of the WEF, said in an interview with Xinhua when the curtain was
lowered for the 2007 Davos Forum in January.
"By moving from Davos to Dalian, the World Economic Forum
underscores an explicit message that China has sent to the world -
China, as one of the most influential emerging markets and driving
engines of the world economy together with its new champions, is
changing and will continue to change the global economic landscape,
" said Jiang Jianqing, board chairman of the Industrial and
Commercial Bank of China.
To officials of Dalian, hosting the meeting is an
"It will bring the city more chances to open itself up," said
Xia Deren, mayor of Dalian. "It can also help local companies
emerge as global players."
Li Bozhou, head of the Dalian Council for Promotion of
International Trade, saw the Summer Davos a chance to make Dalian
better known to the world. "This is a beginning, and more such
events shall be held here and some of the participants might come
to Dalian again in the future."
When the officials showed their optimism for the city's
development, entrepreneurs also saw hope for their businesses.
In the hall of the World Expo Center in Dalian, some 60 domestic
and foreign enterprises and cities set up booths for promotion.
"By meeting with young leaders from outside China, I hope I can
bring about positive changes to the perceived image of China and
the Chinese people," said Feng Jun, CEO of Beijing Huaqi
Information Digital Technology Co. Ltd., a high-tech company
headquartered in Beijing and manufacturer of products with the Aigo
brand. Feng was apparently excited that many people he met at the
meeting knew about the Aigo logo.
"It is a good chance for me to exchange ideas with our foreign
counterparts," said Xiao Zhiguo, CEO and board chairman of Dalian
Luming Science and Technology Group.
Before the event, Xiao spent several days reading materials to
get prepared for his speech. He has received an invitation from the
WEF for membership. "I would decide after the meeting," he
Currently 29 Chinese enterprises, like Lenovo and China Mobile,
are among the 1,000-plus members of the World Economic Forum.
Schwab expected the number could grow to 100 in one or two
Tianjin, another port city in north China about 120 km from
Beijing, will be the next host of Summer Davos. Schwab said the
third session might go to an inland Chinese city.
(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2007)