MNCs ready to grab chance of global biz trips

Optimistic outlook: Blume behind the wheel of a Volkswagen ID. Buzz during a news conference in Berlin. The company chairman says he expects China’s automobile market to sustain its recovery momentum in 2023. — Reuters

BEIJING: Global firms are ready to take advantage of the opportunities in the recovering Chinese market, with some making long-awaited business trips and others staying on top of the latest policy moves.

On his recent business trip to China, Oliver Blume, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen AG, solidified his optimism.

“China is the most important market for us, and we will continue to expand our product lineup in the country,” Blume said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Following the Spring Festival holiday, Blume spent a full week visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun in Jilin province, and Hefei in Anhui province, exchanging ideas with Chinese colleagues, business partners and representatives of local governments.

Such face-to-face talks and intensive on-site visits have led to a deeper understanding of the Chinese market.

“We predict that the Chinese automobile market will sustain its recovery momentum in 2023. The market prospects for new energy vehicles are particularly bright,” said Blume.

Bullish on China’s economy, he said Volkswagen will build new technology partnerships in the Chinese market.

Volkswagen AG is not the only global heavyweight seeking to further understand the Chinese economy to enable it to grasp its opportunities.

After China optimised its Covid-19 response, dozens of multinationals have reached out to the Commerce Ministry for assistance in arranging business visits to China, Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the ministry, said earlier at a news conference.

To better meet the needs of multinationals, Shu said the ministry will strengthen regular exchanges with foreign investor companies and overseas business associations and fully implement national treatment of foreign-funded firms.

Vice-Minister of Commerce Sheng Qiuping reaffirmed China’s commitment to continuously advancing opening up at a new conference on March 15.

Sheng introduced in detail the positive signals released by this year’s government work report as well as the country’s favourable conditions for foreign firms to expand investment, including a growing market scale, extended incentives from opening-up policies and new emerging growth momentum.

Leon Wang, executive vice-president of the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, showed a keen interest in China’s policy environment and paid particular attention to the government work report.

“China has renewed its pledge to intensify efforts in attracting and utilising foreign investment in this year’s report. We think the country’s further opening up and better business environment for overseas companies can be expected,” said Wang.

“As one of the world’s biggest medical markets, China has become AstraZeneca’s most important growth engine,” he said.

In 2023, AstraZeneca will speed up research and development in China and rely on its regional headquarters in Beijing, Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Wuxi, Jiangsu province, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Chengdu, Sichuan province and Qingdao, Shandong province to promote whole industry integration.

The company is looking forward to the Boao Forum for Asia and the China Development Forum, and will hold offline activities themed “AstraZeneca R&D China Science Day” in Shanghai.

A recent survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China also pointed to growing optimism, as over 90% of the surveyed companies said they consider China to be one of their most important investment destinations, with 75% of the respondents planning to reinvest in China in 2023. — Xinhua

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