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Beijing makes a perfect FORTUNE forum
By Raymond Zhou, Xie Songxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-23 07:43

Beijing is the "most ideal city" to host the 2005 FORTUNE Global Forum because it is the capital city of one of the oldest cultures in the world and, with the 2008 Olympics coming, the timing is perfect, said I. Peter Wolff, senior vice-president international, Office of Global Public Policy at Time Warner Inc.

FORTUNE's Global Forum is held once every two years. This year will mark the third occasion China has hosted the event the first was in Shanghai in 1999 and the second in Hong Kong in 2001. "There are people outside our company who have questioned us for favouring China in such a manner," said Wolff. But it becomes "stunningly apparent" that the choices of the host cities are correct and are a testament to the importance of the galloping Chinese economy.

Wolff himself has made 28 trips to China in the past six or seven years, cementing his friendship with various partners, such as the Beijing municipal government and the State Council Information Office. This year's forum will run from May 16 through May 18.

He attributed a recent spate of business conferences in China to the success of FORTUNE's previous endeavours. "People saw how successful we were and copied our model," he said.

FORTUNE, known for its listing of the 500 biggest companies in the world, is glad that more and more Chinese companies are making the list, said Wolff.

Asked about a competitor currently making the headlines with its list of China's richest people and the wealthiest Chinese entertainers, but lagging somewhat on the conference business front, Wolff said that he would rather FORTUNE does not come up with China-specific lists. "We'd like to include China in our global list," he explained.

Time Warner, FORTUNE's parent company, is launching a multi-prong offence in the China market. Besides the very successful flagship magazine and the related conference business, its film units are exploring co-productions and exhibitions with Chinese partners.

"I'm satisfied with the way things are going. Everything is on schedule and the surprises are more positive than negative," Wolff enthused.

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