Premier Li Keqiang promised wider market access for foreign investment and intensified efforts to tackle financial risks when he addressed a roomful of corporate executives in Tianjin on June 28.
“The participation of foreign firms is needed in China’s efforts to push economic transformation and upgrading through reform and innovation, and to realize healthy and sustainable growth,” Premier Li said.
He was taking part in a question-and-answer session on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos.
Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, a California-based company, asked Premier Li about the biggest challenges facing the Chinese economy.
The Premier said these included impeding the county’s reform and transition, where foreign businesses can play a role.
He said foreign technology and managerial expertise will help Chinese companies and the country’s industrial upgrading.
Premier Li said the country will further ease market access for foreign investment and it is committed to building an environment for fair competition.
He did not specify the areas for more relaxed access, but at the opening of the Summer Davos on June 27, Premier Li said the country would open the service and general manufacturing sectors wider and treat Chinese and foreign companies equally.
“China has the biggest potential for investment and should become the world’s most appealing destination for investment,” he said.
Premier Li added that despite difficulties or even friction that foreign investors may experience when doing business in China, the vast majority of these companies could earn a high return on investment.
“Vast majority means possibly 99 percent (of them),” Premier Li said.
He thanked KPMG for its support and expertise in improving China’s accounting system.
KPMG International’s Global Chairman John B. Veihmeyer asked the Premier how the country will strengthen its capital markets and financial system.
Premier Li said, “Like the Chinese economy, it is hard to avoid short-term volatility in China’s capital markets, but we won’t allow skyrocketing rises or precipitous falls in these markets.”
The country will take measures to stabilize its financial market and avoid huge fluctuations, he said.
Replying to a question from Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of CloudFlare, an Internet performance and security company, Premier Li said China is committed to transforming its manufacturing sector by using the latest technology to meet diverse demands.
For its manufacturing industry to become smarter, it must count on the Internet, cloud computing and big data, and the sector must adapt to changes in market demand, he said.
Premier Li suggested that CloudFlare cooperate with more cloud computing startups in China, in addition to partnering with Chinese giants such as Baidu.