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MNC visits to reaffirm faith in China market

By LIU ZHIHUA,WANG ZHUOQIONG and LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-25 07:05
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Lujiazui, the financial center in Shanghai, forms a perfect backdrop to the Bund area. [Photo by Wang Gang/For China Daily]

Senior execs' trips will confirm country still top destination for foreign investors

Scores of global business leaders, including those from multinational corporations such as US-based industrial conglomerate Danaher Corp, British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and French cosmetics maker L'Oreal Group, will visit China soon.

Their visits, experts said, will likely demonstrate their confidence in the future prospects of the world's second-largest economy.

Top executives from major international carmakers are also scheduled to attend the Shanghai Auto Show, which will be held from April 18 to 27. Volkswagen AG Chairman Oliver Blume and BMW Group Chairman Oliver Zipse said they will come to the event "for sure".

Mercedes-Benz confirmed that its chairman Ola Kaellenius will attend the auto show, and General Motors said its CEO Mary Barra will visit China later this year. Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes told China Daily that a visit to China "sits highly on my agenda".

Shu Jueting, spokeswoman of the Ministry of Commerce, said during a media conference on Thursday that dozens of MNCs have been communicating with the ministry to arrange their executives' visits.

"That fully demonstrates their willingness to tap the Chinese market, their confidence in China's development prospects, as well as China's 'magnet-like attraction' to foreign investment," she said.

MOC data showed the actual use of foreign capital on the Chinese mainland reached 127.69 billion yuan ($18.61 billion) in January, up 14.5 percent year-on-year, despite subdued global investment sentiment.

"The key messages are that everybody is fully committed to the development and growth of China, particularly on quality growth," said Michel Doukeris, CEO of AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, who met Wang Wentao, commerce minister, on Friday.

China is the biggest market for beer globally, as well as "a source of inspiration and learning for other markets and operations that we have globally and an important market for our growth as a company globally", Doukeris told China Daily.

Doukeris said he is glad to see consumption returning to China rapidly. He and his team on Thursday visited restaurants and bars in Beijing and noticed that consumers were lining up to be seated.

"Our business is very local … Each and every time that the market is growing, that there is consumption, we need to keep up with the investment to grow. We've been investing over the years in new breweries, in the facilities, in warehouses, and most of all, in our local team and the talent that we have in China," he said.

"Without China, don't get it wrong, no green deal, no transport and no energy transition worldwide is possible," Zipse of BMW had said in an interview with China Daily in January.

Zipse said more cooperation, not less, is needed, as the long-standing Sino-German automotive partnership shows how talent and resources on both sides can create common benefits. "Therefore the BMW Group reemphasizes its commitment to the Chinese market."

Earlier this year, BMW saw its 5 millionth China-made vehicle roll off the assembly line in Shenyang, Liaoning province.

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