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Setting out strategy to meet challenges

By Jing Shuiyu | China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-28 10:07

China-US trade tensions have been a hot topic over the past year. Have they changed your view on prospects for China's economy and markets?

The whole business community has been watching what is happening between the US and China. It has exerted a significant potential impact on the world economy. There is rising concern about the protectionism that is starting to emerge. The International Monetary Fund said recently that the ongoing issue would negatively affect global growth.

It is difficult to predict how the China-US trade tensions are going to unfold. It will have an impact on both sides. We hope the tensions will be resolved as soon as possible. I hope that the two sides can have some good discussions during the ongoing G20 summit.

I think the growth that China has been experiencing and the fundamentals that have been put in place should mean the country will continue to be successful, continue to grow. The country has significantly increased domestic demand including consumption, which will underpin the successful economy.

More importantly, China is continuing to improve its business environment for international companies. As long as people can see that continuing, it will be very positive.

The World Bank endorsed China for its continued dedication to facilitating foreign investment. Obviously, what is happening now is affecting some people's views. However, most people feel China is such an important trading partner that they will continue to invest.

Have China-US trade tensions affected Deloitte as a global professional services organization?

We continue to watch any significant global events closely. However, given our worldwide presence and knowledge of global markets, we can help clients and stakeholders navigate any of the challenges, and identify and mitigate emerging risks.

Next year, Deloitte will have been in business for 175 years, and over the decades, we have adapted to address challenges. The company has a presence in so many countries that it provides us with natural hedges and flexibility.

A host of Chinese companies have been investing overseas, and more foreign firms are coming to invest in China. That is an irreversible trend. Deloitte in China has been able to play a key role in helping homegrown companies invest abroad and foreign firms come into the China market. Deloitte in China is very supportive of the Belt and Road Initiative and helping companies take advantage of that.

Brexit is another uncertainty. With no deal in sight, what should we expect in the next few months?

The whole thing is extremely uncertain and complex. It has been changing almost daily. We are watching how Brexit is developing closely. If I had a crystal ball, I might be able to give you a better answer.

It is really hard to predict what the outcome is. We have been advising our clients to plan for a range of scenarios including no deal.

It is challenging and is undermining business confidence in the UK and Europe. However, I think the UK has a strong economy. In the medium term, it will be successful no matter what happens with Brexit. Positive factors include our education system, stable regulatory environment, our approach to innovation, and the broad base of the economy.

You are the first woman to become Deloitte global chair. What does it mean to you?

It is amazing. I feel exceptionally honored to have the opportunity to become Deloitte global chair. I have been with Deloitte for over 30 years and it is my proudest moment.

I have talked about being passionate about inclusion. We have launched a global initiative focused on gender parity, which aims to attract, retain and increase the number of women at all levels through the organization, particularly the leadership team.

Our China firm is a fantastic example of promoting gender parity. We need to get more women into the most senior leadership roles, and make enhanced efforts on that globally. The board at Deloitte has a key part to play, which is to keep challenging leadership in all our firms to do more about gender parity.

In China, we have some great initiatives. There is an excellent mentorship program, which aims to promote gender diversity and focus on developing future female leaders. Sponsorship is one of the most important factors in empowering women. A good statistic is that the first female partner in the China firm was appointed in 1985, and currently 60 percent of the workforce are women.

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