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Multinationals still ‘drawn to China’

Li Wenfang
Updated: Sep 14,2016 7:38 AM     China Daily

Multinational company CEOs remain very eager to participate in China’s growth and development, according to the organizer of Fortune Global Forum, who announced that next year’s forum-the fifth to be held in China-will be held in the city of Guangzhou.

“There is no country in the world that holds greater interest for multinational company CEOs,” said John Needham, managing director of Fortune Global Forum.

The decision to host the forum in Guangzhou next year means also the recognition of China’s achievements in the past few years, the prospects the country offers in business opportunities, as well as the importance it holds in global affairs, said Jaime FlorCruz, China chairman, Fortune Global Forum.

Fortune Global Forum is the annual conference held by the US magazine Fortune. The forum convenes presidents, chairmen, CEOs of the world’s top companies and also leading economists.

Inaugurated in 1995, the forum has been held in 13 cities worldwide, including the Chinese cities of Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Chengdu.

Since the first forum held in Shanghai in 1999, the number of Chinese companies on the Fortune Global 500 list has increased from less than 10 to 103, said Alan Murray, chief content officer of Time Inc and editor-in-chief of Fortune, at the news conference on Sept 13.

“It’s conceivable that someday the majority of companies on the global 500 list may come from China, at least at the pace that we are going at today,” Needham said.

Innovation is set to be a key issue at the forum in Guangzhou, scheduled in late November or early December next year, with China “becoming more and more innovative and setting new standards for the rest of the world,” he said.

With many Chinese companies going abroad these days for mergers and acquisitions, the forum also makes a platform for Chinese enterprises to look for partnerships or even acquisitions, FlorCruz said.

The forum will help the international community better understand China’s mindset for innovative, coordinated, green, open and co-sharing development and deepen the economic cooperation between China and the rest of the world, said Zhang Hongbin, deputy director of the International Affairs Bureau at the State Council Information Office.

When globalization is faced with severe challenges, the forum in Guangzhou will be a strong proof of the importance of global commerce and how significant the changes technology is bringing to the world’s business, editor-in-chief of Fortune, Alan Murray, told the news conference.

On choosing the capital of Guangdong province as the host city for the forum next year, he said: “As a center of international trade for many centuries, Guangzhou is both a renowned symbol and a modern manifestation of China’s participation in global commerce.”

A total of 288 of the world’s top 500 firms had invested in Guangzhou by June, said Cai Chaolin, deputy-mayor of Guangzhou.

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