Business / Macro

China's 13th Five-Year Plan signals potential new era of Sino-foreign cooperation

By Zheng Xin ( Updated: 2016-10-24 15:24

China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) presents important new investment opportunities for Chinese and foreign businesses, says a new KPMG report.

China has the potential to usher in a golden age of inbound and outbound investment activity through the implementation of an ambitious and comprehensive program of reforms, the plan said.

Launched earlier today at a closed-door event at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, the report, titled The 13th Five-Year Plan – China's transformation and integration with the world economy: Opportunities for Chinese and foreign businesses, is the second in the 13th FYP report series by KPMG's Global China Practice.

"China is important to companies and governments around the world," said John Veihmeyer, Chairman, KPMG International.

"While still facing many challenges, China will continue to be an important engine of global economic growth and business opportunities."

According to Veihmeyer, the five year plan charts an ambitious course for China's economic and social development over the next five years.

Fostering greater understanding of the five year plan is important for China to attract foreign investment in new sectors where foreign capital, technology and experience is sought after. Understanding these issues is also important for foreign companies to be able to align value propositions and business strategies, and prepare for an evolving landscape of risks associated with new and existing investments, he added.

The scale and significance of the transformation, reform and opening up envisaged in the 13th Five Year Plan and the potential opportunities for both foreign and Chinese companies cannot be underestimated, said Honson To, Joint Chairman, KPMG China.

In addition to continuing discussions with senior representatives from embassies, investors from major foreign direct investment nations, trade promotion agencies and chambers of commerce who attended the event, the report will also be taken on a global road show to meet with companies and other important stakeholders in the Asia Pacific, Europe and the US to explore new and emerging areas where cooperation between Chinese and foreign companies can help progress the development priorities within the 13th five year plan, he explained.

According to the report, there are seven key development priorities, including developing an innovative economic structure and accelerating industrial upgrading, promoting industrial transformation, establishing a new model of coordinated regional development, advancing green development and putting 'ecology first', building a more inclusive society and improving quality of life, increasing openness and global integration and deepening market-oriented reforms through progressive implementation of institutional reforms.

The report also notes that supply-side structural reform is a key focus of the 13th five year plan, around which other development-related initiatives will revolve.

China is now in a relatively advanced stage in its move towards becoming a high-income economy, and structural adjustments are pushing China's industry to the middle to high end of the value chain, as shown by increasing signs of sophistication in several sectors across the economy.

"This is where partnerships between foreign and domestic enterprises can assist in and benefit from China's evolution, and progress towards a 'new normal' of economic development and a 'moderately prosperous society'", said Benny Liu, Joint Chairman, KPMG China.

"Partnering between Chinese and foreign companies in new sectors and areas will be a key way to achieve the social and economic objectives laid out in the 13th five year plan," he said.

"Chinese companies can 'go out' to acquire technology and business models for deployment in the domestic market, while foreign investors can leverage their production technologies, business models and operational experience to accelerate the pace of China's transformation."

According to the report, China's traditional monopolies, state-run utilities and public services are poised to gradually become more accessible to private and even foreign investment. This opens new potential channels for FDI into China, and provides Chinese outbound investors with the opportunity to form valuable synergies and links between their domestic and overseas businesses.

The report also notes that China will seek to promote broader, more bidirectional openness, and build institutions and mechanisms that encourage cooperation and are compatible with international trade and investment rules. As these measures are implemented, they will better facilitate FDI and outward direct investment, the report says.

"We hope this report will be a valuable resource for Chinese and foreign companies – global companies, niche players and emerging disruptors alike – to find ways in which they can share in the dividend generated by China's growth, while making their own contribution to the economy's transformation," said Vaughn Barber.

This would represent a win-win for business and national interests as China strives to maintain medium-high growth, shift to the middle to high end of the value chain and progress towards becoming a high-income nation, the report concludes.

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