China sends signal of confidence, openness, innovation and green development at Boao Forum for Asia

China sends signal of confidence, openness, innovation and green development at Boao Forum for Asia

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) – also commonly known as Asia's Davos – was held in the Hainan province resort town of Boao from March 26 to 29 under the theme “ Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibility”. Several state, government and business leaders attended the forum, where Chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Zhao Leji held a keynote speech. Zhao said China is taking a series of new measures to expand its high-standard opening-up and sincerely welcomes partners from all over the world. China has the advantages of a vast market, robust industrial system, talent and an ecosystem that fosters innovation, as well as obvious institutional advantages. In addition, the fundamentals of China’s long-term economic improvement have not changed, Zhao said. He noted that the nation advocates inclusive economic globalization, opposes various forms of unilateralism and protectionism, and is willing to closely link its own development with that of other countries. The country will continue to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between China and foreign countries in the legal system, safeguard the lawful rights and interests of enterprises, and promote high-standard opening-up, he said.

“Investing in China is investing in the future. All countries are sincerely welcome to board the express train of China's development and join hands to work for global modernization featuring peaceful development, mutually beneficial cooperation and prosperity for all," Zhao said.

Ban Ki-moon, Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia and former UN Secretary General, said at the meeting that China is now in a transition to a growth model that put more focus on quality and sustainability. It takes vision and courage to pursue such goals, he said. During the ongoing conference, MNC executives voiced their support for economic globalization and free trade, and expressed confidence in China’s economic development prospects.

Li Baodong, Secretary General of the BFA, said that this year's conference hopes to bolster unity and cooperation, rebuild confidence and trust, and collectively foster peace and development. Major topics for discussion included China's economic outlook, Asia's development and cooperation, and the global geopolitical and economic outlook. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI), new-energy vehicles (NEVs), trade fragmentation and climate change were also on the agenda, as well as the rise of the Global South and the promotion of a multipolar world.

Top executives who attended the BFA include Robert Goldstein, Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, Christian Bruch, President and CEO of Siemens Energy, Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, and Yumi Harada, Chairman of the Japan General Chamber of Commerce and President of Joyful.

China’s economy is showing signs of steady recovery with effective measures to boost domestic demand and tackle structural issues, participants attending the Boao Forum said. Looking ahead, they said boosting consumption and fostering new quality productive forces will be among key priorities for the country to support high-quality development and sustainable growth. Citing some key economic indicators in the first two months of the year, Ben Simpfendorfer, Partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman, said the “Chinese economy is stabilizing”, and there are still some positive factors driving China’s economic recovery this year. “I think exports are the primary positive factor,” he told China Daily. He also said a cause for concern in the current environment is the ongoing correction in real estate. It is quite important to stimulate stronger consumption this year. “To see a stronger recovery this year, we need to see consumer spending accelerate.” Chinese policymakers, he said, have options to increase fiscal spending in fields like health, education and maternity care, providing more support to consumers, especially low-income families. “That might provide them with greater certainty in their household finances and greater confidence to start spending more on other types of goods and services.”

Erik Berglof, Chief Economist of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), said he believes China needs to create clear conditions and rules on how the private sector can contribute to bolster the world’s second-largest economy. “It needs to focus on innovation and try to bring new ideas and new ways of organizing things,” he said. “I think China will remain an important contributor to global growth for the foreseeable future, but it will require more efforts from the government side.” Steven Barnett, Senior Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in China, said. China has become the world’s largest economy in terms of GDP in purchasing power parity terms, and the country’s economy contributes to around one-third of the global economic growth.

After more than 40 panel discussions among participants from more than 60 countries and regions over the previous four days, the BFA Annual Conference drew to a conclusion on March 29. The Forum followed close after the China Development Forum (CDF), where Premier Li Qiang made a concerted push to reinsure foreign business leaders that China would continue to open up and improve the business climate for foreign investment. President Xi Jinping also met in Beijing with representatives of U.S. businesses and academia, including Evan Greenberg, Chairman of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations; Cristiano Amon, President and CEO of Qualcomm; and Graham Allison, Dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.