Beyond Borders

2019-11-29 14:37:00 Source:China Today Author:ZHOU LIN
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CHINA demonstrated its resolve to expand its opening-up to the world when China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Shandong Provincial People’s Government jointly held the first Qingdao Multinationals Summit on October 19. During the summit, the report Multinationals in China: 40 Years of Investment was released. According to the report, from 1978 to 2018, China’s actual use of foreign direct investment (FDI) amounted to US $2.1 trillion, making the country one of the world’s largest destinations for FDI. In 2018 alone, China absorbed a total of US $134.97 billion of FDI, ranking second in the world. This huge amount of foreign investment represents the world’s confidence in China’s economy and presents the world a historic opportunity to share the achievements brought about by China’s development.

Tremendous Potential

“This period of 40 years of reform and opening-up has turned China into the world’s second largest economy as well as the biggest manufacturer and exporter. It also ranks second in terms of research and development spending. Six out of 10 Chinese now live in cities. In constant dollars, per capita income rose 25-fold from 1978 to 2018. To date, according to the World Bank, more than 800 million people have escaped poverty [in China],” Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH, enumerated on China’s achievements at the summit.

With over 110 years of working history in China, Bosch has set its roots here and is dedicated to serving the needs of Chinese customers. Today, Bosch employs more than 60,000 associates in China, Bosch’s largest market outside Germany. As a global leading supplier of automotive technology and services, Bosch provides solutions that will help make a cleaner, more efficient, and safer mobility for the future.

“In the shape of Shandong Heavy Industry Group, we have a strong local partner with whom to achieve this target,” said Volkmar Denner, adding that Bosch’s cooperation with Shandong Heavy Industry Group started in 1999. Throughout all these years, the two sides have worked hard to provide the Chinese market with advanced low-emission diesel engines. The two sides have also formed a strategic alliance in the area of new-energy vehicles to develop fuel cells and other related technologies in China.

“With more than 70 manufacturers, over one fourth of all newly-registered cars worldwide, and hundreds of millions of potential customers, China is at the heart of the global automobile industry. Despite the recent slowdown, China remains the world’s largest automotive market ahead of both Europe and the U.S. It is also playing the leading role in the development of various new technologies,” Volkmar Denner said. “We believe the Chinese market is far from being saturated. The potential for Bosch remains tremendous in the medium to long term.”


Domestic and foreign guests hold a panel discussion at the 2019 Forbes China Leadership Summit, which was held during the first session of Qingdao Multinationals Summit on October 19.

A Source of Innovation

“The quality of China’s industrial design has been improving very fast in recent years. This is not only evident at the technology level, but also reflected in people’s innovative ideas. Chinese designers are just as good as Western designers now. Chinese companies, for example Xiaomi [an electronics and software company that focuses on mobile devices and technology], have already been globally recognized,” said Mathis Heller, honorary professor at the DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai. He added that he is fully confident in and has high expectations for China’s potential market.

Heller from Germany has worked as a car and product designer for the last 25 years. He has been working for brands like BMW, MAN Truck and Bus, Deutsche Bahn, Siemens, Unilever, Haier, and Dongfeng Motor Corporation. Having lived in China for five years, Heller now has a well-established design studio in Shanghai, which has close connections with the Sino-German Industrial Design Institute in Yantai, a coastal city in Shandong Province. At present, his studio is cooperating with local enterprises in Yantai, aiming to apply exquisite German technology in designing environmental protection equipment.

According to him, “Enter Face” launched at the 2019 World Industrial Design Conference & Industrial Design World Expo will serve as a communication platform between Chinese and German designers, enterprises, and all innovative entities in areas of industry, finance, and colleges, matching them together to transform cutting-edge technology into innovative design solutions in China and as a result win wider global recognition.

Vital Global Players

“China has been developing at a remarkable pace. Back in 1992 when we opened our first office in Beijing, Microsoft was mostly interested in technology innovation for the Chinese market. Today, China has become a source of innovation that we can present to the world together,” said Alain Crozier, corporate vice president, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft Greater China Region. “China is playing a more and more important role on the global stage today.”

Crozier also put forward two new concepts: “Traditional Multinationals” and “China Multinationals.” “Traditional Multinationals” are global companies who are eager to establish a business presence in China, while “China Multinationals” are up-and-coming innovative companies that operate business flexibly and are taking up global market shares rapidly. The latter are becoming increasingly important global players, and have expanded the influence across the national border.

As a representative of “China Multinationals,” Haier Group has also transformed itself from a traditional manufacturer into an innovative enterprise in the era of Internet of Things, providing customized better life solutions for families worldwide. In this way, it presents Chinese companies’ open-minded attitude to the world, as well as the confidence and ability of modern multinationals.

Zhang Ruimin, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of  Haier Group, revealed, “Haier attributes most of its success in the global market to its localization strategy of combining the localized design, manufacturing, and marketing together, and its ability to change Chinese Haier into European Haier, North American Haier, Australian Haier, and Japanese Haier. Nowadays, Haier’s products have become one of the medium- and upmarket brands in countries along the Belt and Road routes such as India, Thailand, Russia, and Pakistan.”

China’s reform and opening-up has provided a “China opportunity” for multinationals to expand their global presence. Over the past four decades, more than 900,000 foreign companies have invested in China. They have witnessed the historical achievements of China’s reform and opening-up, and at the same time made great contributions to China’s economic and social progress.

Over the past four decades, FDI has advanced China’s reform and opening-up, promoted the change of Chinese people’s mindsets, and accelerated the transformation of government functions and macroeconomic regulating systems. The foreign-funded sector is an important part of China’s market economy, and plays a positive role in boosting social and economic development and transformation in China. It is the expanding production capacity, spending power, and improving business environment that lead China to a heatedly sought-after destination by global investors.  

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