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Forum delegates discover benefits
By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-19 06:17

Chairman of Dubai's Kampac Oil Charles Ampofo has hailed his first trip to China a success.

A participant at the FORTUNE Global Forum, which ended yesterday in Beijing, he said he "discovered China" at the event.

"Outside, I saw different pictures from inside, they tell lots of stories about China," he said. "Now I have great hopes and feel it is easy to do business here," something he said he had not expected.

His company is now looking forward to opening an office in Beijing this year.

He is not alone. When the curtain of the forum fell yesterday afternoon, many participants, from home and abroad, said the event had been a success.

"All my expectations of it have been reached," said Martin Sorrell, CEO of communication giant WPP. "It is immensely valuable for us, because we have made interesting contacts and enjoyed a number of opportunities at the forum. It gave us a place for our clients and potential clients to congregate."

Organizers were happy too, hailing the event the "best ever."

Peter Wolff, Time Warner's senior vice-president International, said it was "historically successful."

Zhao Qizheng, minister of the State Council Information Office, said many of the participants told him the forum had been "unprecedentedly splendid."

"We got both the right topic and important participants that ensured success," he said.

"For those attending the forum, they harvested fresh ideas. For us, the biggest reward is that we got the whole world to understand China better," he added.

For Beijing, which is hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, co-organizing the forum helped it gain much-needed experience in co-operating with international organizations to arrange big events, according to Beijing Vice-Mayor Zhang Mao.

What impressed many of the participants was the active participation of Chinese entrepreneurs.

In dialogues with business leaders from the world's top 500 firms, the Chinese entrepreneurs displayed their competence by making exchanges with their foreign colleagues on an equal footing, and expressing their thoughts with internationally-accepted business languages, Zhao said.

Xie Qihua, chairwoman of China's largest steel maker Baoshan Iron & Steel, is one of them.

"It is good to have the opportunity to make exchanges with foreign colleagues through dialogue," she said. "Moreover, the forum helped me get a better understanding of the world's economic development."

Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba.com, said he regarded the forum as a place to refresh his ideas.

What inspired him most was discovering how consistent some CEOs were in managing their businesses.

For example, Helmut Panke, chairman of the board of management at BMW, affirmed that "brand is a promise."

"It has taught me a good lesson in managing my own business," Ma said.

(China Daily 05/19/2005 page2)

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