Top executives from an increasing number of big-name multinational companies are planning to visit China next month, highlighting the significance of China in multinational companies’ business plans, particularly amid subdued global economic prospects, experts said.
Some companies have already made such visits since the country optimized COVID-19 response and border control measures.
As China deepens reform and expands high-level opening-up, with its economic recovery gaining pace, foreign investors will only become more upbeat about the Chinese market and are expected to funnel more resources into the country, experts and global business leaders said.
Multinationals that have confirmed such visit plans with China Daily include United States-based industrial conglomerate Danaher Corp, UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and France’s L’Oreal Group.
Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Oliver Blume visited China from late January to early February, while Apple CEO Tim Cook and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla are expected to visit next month, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ola Kallenius, chairman of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, is also planning to visit China, it said.
“We believe the Chinese market will bounce back on all divisions. … L’Oreal will probably benefit even more from this reopening of (cross-border travel),” said Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of L’Oreal Group, who will visit China next month.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said China’s economic scale and pace of growth, as well as its increasing openness level, have combined to provide huge development opportunities for foreign enterprises.
Despite headwinds and challenges, China posted better-than-expected 3 percent economic growth in 2022. Recent economic data have also shown signs of a robust recovery.
The International Monetary Fund has raised its forecast for China’s economic growth in 2023 to 5.2 percent, up 0.8 percentage point from its projection in October.
Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley, predicted that China’s economy will expand 5.7 percent year-on-year in 2023, contributing to around 40 percent of global economic growth.
Against the weak economic performance of major economies like the US, China’s robust recovery will benefit other countries, he said on Monday.
“China is a strategic and fast-growing market for Danaher. We are dedicated to long-term development in the country,” said Rainer Blair, the company’s president and CEO, who plans to visit China in mid-March. “We’ll substantially increase our capacity in the country and better support our customers realizing life’s potential.”
Danaher’s life sciences subsidiary Cytiva is expanding its Fast Trak center in Shanghai with an investment of around $8 million, in order to tap China’s rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry. Pall Corp, Danaher’s microelectronics unit, has also been accelerating its localization in China.
AstraZeneca said China is a powerhouse and stabilizer for global economic growth, and the country’s ever-improving business environment and policy measures and emphasis on innovation not only boost the Chinese economy, but also constantly add to foreign enterprises’ confidence in China.