Attention on the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos will this year be focused squarely on China's President Xi Jinping.
It will be the first time a Chinese head of state has attended the annual gathering, which has evolved over more than four decades into the ultimate international networking session.
Xi, who will open this year's meeting, will be accompanied by the largest delegation of Chinese officials to attend Davos since it first participated in 1979.
Every year in mid-January, CEOs, heads of state, top government officials, artists, academics and media moguls rub shoulders at the small Swiss winter resort and discuss the major topic of the day.
This year, amid a perceived US retreat from global affairs and with Europe facing political uncertainty, attendees will watch out for China to emerge as the champion of globalization and multilateralism.
Last year, the theme was Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This year, from Jan 17-20, delegates at the 47th gathering will talk about Responsive and Responsible Leadership.
For this year's record 3,000 invitation-only participants, networking is probably more important than the formal agenda of speeches and discussion panels.
Around 500 journalists will attempt to track events, knowing the most interesting discussions take place out of sight.
It is an atmosphere that can provide the background for deals, that could range from business initiatives to international peace agreements.
In 1992, South Africa's last apartheid-era president, F.W. de Klerk, shook hands at Davos with Nelson Mandela. Two years later, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat held a joint news conference with Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres.
The annual meeting began in 1971 as an obscure management gathering, the brainchild of German-born Klaus Schwab, a business academic.
Schwab, who is still executive chairman of the WEF, believed business was not only about shareholders, but also about stakeholders beyond the business world.
The forum evolved into a gathering for those who, in their respective fields, run the world.
Davos Man－barely a fifth of participants are women－has become shorthand for the kind of transnational mover and shaker who commutes by helicopter or private jet. The image presents a challenge after a year in which Brexit in Britain and the election of Donald Trump in the US have been interpreted as part of a backlash against globalized elites.
It is recognized in this year's theme of responsible leadership, a concept the WEF says "requires recognizing that frustration and discontent are increasing in the segments of society that are not experiencing economic development and social progress".
This year, representatives of more than 70 countries will take part alongside heads of international organizations, including Antonio Guterres, the new Secretary-General of the UN.
The author is a senior editorial consultant for China Daily UK.