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Veteran corporate strategist upbeat about China economy

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-01 15:27

"China is excellent at managing big projects and the growth of the electronics industry should be regarded as a big project," he added.

With these advantages, there is a high probability for Chinese companies to become leaders rather than followers in some of the most influential high-tech sectors, including 5G, Internet of things, semiconductors and automobiles, he said.

Taking the telecommunications industry as an example, Jones said, "In 4G, China was behind. But in 5G, China will be the number one due to the well-planned development strategy and companies' commitment as well as the role of government in supporting the corporate sector."

Jones deems the Chinese government's plan to build a $100-billion semi-conductor industry as an excellent example where the government is taking initiative and of where government and industries can cooperate on becoming global leaders.

Jones also authors another best seller China's Globalization: How China Can Become No 1, which offers insight into how China will drive major changes in the global competitive environment over the next decade. Market forces alone are not sufficient to make the big advances required to be No 1.

While working with several of China's leading high-tech companies, as well as many foreign companies that are leaders in many market segments, Jones has noticed a change from being followers to becoming innovators and planning to be leaders. "This is a significant change in the mindset in China over the past one to two years," he said.

Jones attributed the change to a sharp increase in R&D investment, a boost in managerial levels and enhancement in entrepreneurial skills as well as confidence in being able to compete in global markets.

Despite the bright future for China's companies, there is still a long way to go before they can become clear leaders and innovators. In Jones' eyes, it might take seven to ten or even 20 years, but "China is on a growth path, and the long-term prospects are positive."

To leap ahead of their counterparts in developed countries, Chinese companies have to first change their mindset and focus on quality and profitability instead of market volume and low cost, Jones said.

Some Chinese companies accept or strive to be low-cost copiers and are satisfied with being No 2. This has to be changed before China can have its own iphones, he said.

"Long-term strategies for winning have to be well-planned, and close collaboration between corporations and the government is critical," Jones added.

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