Economic blueprint enthuses MNC execs

By CHENG YU | China Daily
Updated: March 12, 2024
A view of the booth of Suzano during an expo in Shanghai. [PHOTO/CHINA DAILY]

China's latest economic blueprint unveiled at the two sessions reflects the nation's pragmatic attitude toward high-quality development, which will offer sufficient growth impetus to the global economy while maintaining stability, said executives of multinational corporations on Monday.

The Chinese government's sharpened focus on "new quality productive forces", "high-standard opening-up" and "high-quality development" will bolster MNCs' confidence that they can grow unimpeded in China, they said.

Pablo Machado, president of the Asia unit of Brazilian pulp and paper maker Suzano, said: "For another year, China has set solid growth targets during the two sessions, which signals its strong confidence to the market."

China has set a GDP growth target of around 5 percent for 2024. "This reflects the expectations of market analysts and indicates the Chinese government's policies and actions for tackling economic challenges, while keeping the engine of the economy running to provide economic and social development globally," Machado said.

Agreed Saravoot Yoovidhya, CEO of Thai beverage company TCP Group, adding it showed China's "rational and pragmatic" attitude toward development.

"As the Chinese government's measures to stabilize the economy are implemented one after another, we firmly believe that China's economic development will continue to improve and remain stable over the long term," he said.

Yoovidhya further said TCP Group is "more confident than ever" that it can grow further in China as the nation has vowed to strengthen foreign trade, foreign investment and high-standard opening-up in the latest Government Work Report.

"It fully reflects the great importance and support the Chinese government accords to foreign-funded enterprises, and encourages foreign companies to exploit more opportunities in the super large Chinese market," he said.

Yoovidhya noted that in recent years, opening-up has continuously deepened, and the Chinese business environment has been continuously optimized, making China a preferred destination of foreign investors.

"Today, China is eager to attract and utilize foreign investment to a greater extent, treat local and foreign-funded enterprises equally, and promote landmark foreign-funded projects. All this will enable foreign companies to see a stronger potential in the Chinese market."

According to the latest Government Work Report, China will strive to modernize its industrial system and develop new quality productive forces faster. The country will also underscore the leading role of innovation, spur industrial innovation by making innovations in science and technology, and press ahead with new industrialization, so as to promote a new leap forward in productive forces.

Compared with traditional productive tools that are driven by elements like labor, land and capital, new quality productive forces refer to technological innovation, data, smart or intelligent technologies and the like.

Francis Liekens, vice-president of the China unit of Swedish industrial giant Atlas Copco Group, noted that China's shift from basic manufacturing to high-quality technology and development is of great importance.

"China is leading, not following, in many sectors. As a company, if you're not leading in China, then you cannot be a leader in the global market."

He said Atlas Copco is confident of its long-term growth prospects in the Chinese market, given the speed of both development and innovation.

Referring to China's efforts to become a major source of technology and innovation, Liekens said this will place foreign companies in a good position to drive and respond to these opportunities in emerging sectors like energy efficiency, digitalization and carbon neutrality.

Machado from Suzano said he is impressed by the new vision of developing new quality productive forces, which showcases China's efforts to embrace innovation-driven growth.

"China's ongoing round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is a response to its transition from high-rate growth to high-quality development."

Strategic emerging industries and industries of the future will be seen as key drivers of the new quality productive forces, which include biotechnology, new energy, new materials and environmental protection, Machado said.

"This will enable foreign companies such as Suzano, which are aligned with the new quality productive forces and help promote high-quality development, to continue to thrive in China."

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