Fortune Forum in Guangzhou Attracts Fortunate Few

Fortunate few (1,100 business leaders) at the Fortune Forum in Guangzhou

Blue skies and reasonable traffic flow a picture from the middle of what would be a very busy street during the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou

Last month was busy. This month manic, is it just me, or is it a sign that this is China’s Century? I do not know, but sure seems like it. In November, I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of a recent international business delegation of “so-called celebrities” to a Chinese government sponsored One Belt One Road initiative to Xinjiang Autonomous Region.  Absolutely amazing, OBOR = opportunity.

This month, yikes now the Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, where the real celebrities like Tim Cook (Apple) and what appears to be almost-a-mini-Davos is taking place amidst some robust security and China’s penchant for hosting on a grand scale, in what has become one of the finest and most important-cities in the world, the capital of the Pearl River Delta- Guangzhou.
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to attendees that the country would continue to open up and improve its business climate to create more opportunities and make a greater contribution to the world.

President Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, which opened in a balmy Guangzhou this week. It is certainly different from cold snowy Wulumuqi, but it underscores the fact that this government supports growth and China is not only open for business, it wants to be pro-active to the rest of the world it shall facilitate business whether it is so-called celebrities on the old silk  road or world-beaters in the Pearl River Delta.

In his letter, Xi said China would develop the open economy to a higher level, promote the Belt and Road Initiative, and push for a new pattern of all-round opening up.

Looking forward, he said China would enjoy robust development momentum, the people would have a greater sense of gain and the country would be more integrated into the world.

The president said China’s economy had the foundation, condition and impetus to maintain stable growth and sound momentum and that is what seems to be happening, these are not simply empty words. The One Belt One Road combined with the AIIB China managed iniatives to spur that growth is underway.

Fortunately, President Xi reiterated that China would not close its door to the world, and would only become more and more open, with its business environment becoming more open, transparent and regulated. Which I have been pleased to report upon as a legal commentator on 中央电视台 and see it up close on factory floors, in court rooms, and board-rooms across China.

President Xi message declared “China will continue to forge global partnerships, expand the common interests with others countries, further liberalise and facilitate trade and investment, and push for an economic globalization that is more open and inclusive, more balanced, more equitable and beneficial to all”.

President Xi encouraged global businesses to invest in China to share the opportunities brought by the country’s reform and development.

This three-day 2017 Fortune Global Forum has chosen “Openness and Innovation: Shaping the Global Economy” as its theme, drawing 1,100 participants, some of the world’s finest business leaders, including senior executives from the world’s top firms such as Alibaba, Tencent, Ford, HSBC and JP Morgan.

It is the fifth time that a Chinese city has hosted the forum. There was the youthful-looking- leader of the :Great White-North” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as the lesser known (but about IMHO with the same relevance) Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill addressing the opening of the forum. Hey China welcomes all this is a “big tent” indeed.

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke stating China plays a leadership role in many areas, such as poverty reduction, manufacturing and innovation.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (right) speaks at the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou

Tim Cook unabashedly declared he has witnessed a “sea change” in China over the past quarter century from his nine-visits from Cupertino.

Cook said China is already “incredibly innovative” in the software industry and so many applications and ideas can only be created here. China also has a large pool of computer science professionals with skills that are very rare to find anywhere.

The Apple CEO said skills, rather than low labor costs, are what lure foreign companies to China. For some reason he failed to mention the 1.4 potential consumers, but that might be It too, the Chinese market, I guess? He did go on however and mention to get into the weeds of what Foxconn does for them as a OEM manufacturer.
“The products we do require advanced tooling. In the United States, I am not sure our tooling engineers can fill a room. In China, you can fill multiple football fields,” he said.
Apple now has around 2 million developers using its platform in China.

Cook said many companies have come to recognize the importance of vocational expertise. (I note, but he did not attribute same as notion promoted by TV celebrity Mike Rowe and the Koch Brothers in America). Tim Cook went on to explian that China understood that right from the beginning and gave it a leading position in manufacturing.

On other fronts, Cook said China is doing an unbelievable job in poverty reduction, which deserves applause. ( And the nation is very fixated on doing the right thing to avert climate change, according to Cook.

Turning to regulation, Cook said each country decides on its laws and regulations. As a foreign company, it either participates or stands on the sideline.
“You get in the arena because nothing gets changed from the sideline. When you participate, you are subject to the laws and regulations in the country,” he said. I particularly liked and appreciated those comments as Apple is suing Qualcomm in China to contest the payment of what has been deemed “essential patents” are not all relevant to Apple’s products perhaps and an epic battle which is taking place in the Courtroom in Beijing and will probably because of the speed of the judicial system in China over the USA and the EU as the first outcome of what will be a big outcome between the two giant corporations. As a legal professional that has attended my share of court hearings before the China IP Court in China, I can say Apple is not on the sidelines to be sure.

We shall keep you posted. His comments might be a foreshadow of a possible appearance where CEO Tim Cook might make an appearance at the IP Court for a hearing to see for himself the legal process, as Chinese legal counsel have been utilising more and more testimony and written statements by stakeholders and CEO’s who wish to see the process himself.

Published by Edward E. Lehman on December 7th, 2017 tagged Uncategorized

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