Hainan embodies opening-up ethos(2)

2018-04-23 08:28China Daily Editor: Li Yan ECNS App Download

China has also pledged to expand imports, a major and a more direct way to share its development opportunities with the world.

"With the world's largest population, China can provide a huge market for other countries and regions with industrial and infrastructure advantages," said Gao Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce.

Danish multinational Danfoss Group, a specialist in energy-efficient technologies, will probably agree. It will establish two manufacturing plants in China this year, having achieved a record 30 percent growth in the country in 2017.

What helped Danfoss in China were the government's massive investments in the fields of green energy and energy-efficient technologies to tackle the challenges of climate change and pollution.

"We have been benefitting from China's reform and opening-up policy, and we are very optimistic about our future in China, which is our second home market," said Kjeld Stark, president of Danfoss China.

"The strong growth in China is a clear sign of the perfect alignment between our business portfolio and China's development initiatives," said Stark. "China has contributed one-third of the group's overall growth last year."

In 2017, Danfoss delivered the highest sales growth in six years: its sales increased 10 percent year-on-year to 5.8 billon euros ($7.16 billion).

Despite challenges like rising unilateralism and protectionism elsewhere in the world, France's Schneider Electric SA believes China's new round of opening-up will not only become a main source of the country's own development, but also bring opportunities and shared prosperity to the whole world.

"China's new direction, further reform and openness, will certainly bring more opportunities to Schneider Electric. The opportunity is mainly in areas including green city development, industrial automation and Internet Plus-related businesses," said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric's chief executive officer.

Tricoire said the tangible development relating to the Belt and Road Initiative will become another highlight for China to further expand its market-opening channels, he said.

Schneider Electric has already worked with a number of Chinese companies such as China National Building Materials Group Co in markets related to the initiative, especially in Europe and Africa.

Schneider Electric has also engaged in innovative works of Chinese startups as the Chinese government has already pledged to make the home market a place for "domestic and foreign firms regardless of their ownership to compete on a level playing field".

"China's economy has benefitted considerably from the more domestically focused, investment-driven growth model after the 2008 global financial crisis, when many developed economies encountered weakened consumption growth resulting from the fallout of the crisis," said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

As China's investment-driven growth model has gradually reached its upper limit and engendered potential debt escalation and systemic financial risks, Sang said one of the country's most important decisions in the new round was to make its investment environment more attractive.

"Because foreign-invested companies have become an integral part of the national economy, China certainly needs them to expand capital supply, introduce professionals and advance market-oriented reform," he said.

In the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October last year and the Government Work Report in March, the government reiterated China will follow international economic and trading rules, increase transparency, strengthen property rights protection, uphold the rule of law, encourage competition and oppose monopolies.

"With the renewed pledges, China will become well-positioned to achieve high-quality development, the fundamental requirement for determining the development path, making economic policies, and formulating macroeconomic regulation," said William Liu, China unit head for Linklaters LLP, the international law firm.

Sherri He, partner and head of consumer and retail industry, at the China branch of A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, said further opening-up of China's manufacturing industry will benefit not only foreign businesses but also Chinese companies. The latter can improve their competitiveness, even though they may struggle a bit in the short term.

In fact, there is minimum protection of Chinese companies in sectors such as home appliances. Yet, these are the sectors where Chinese companies will likely become leading players; and global competitors may lose their competitiveness not only in the China market but also in global markets to their Chinese peers. For, Chinese companies will learn to survive and thrive amid fiercer competition; they see the need to be strong and competitive, He said.

She also said obstacles remain because some longstanding and key areas of reform, including State-owned enterprises and financial reform, still need more time.

"On the other hand, Chinese companies in finance and auto sectors, especially the major banks and large SOE automotive companies, have been too profitable and comfortable as protection was certain. There was not enough pressure and motivation for them to grow to their full competence," He said.


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