China will definitely maintain its charm as a favorite investment destination for multinationals, thanks to the country's continuous drive of opening-up, global business leaders and economists said on Saturday.
Given that China is further expanding market access and pursuing high-quality growth, the country will bring more exciting business opportunities to global companies, and the only question left will be how to seize these golden chances, they said.
They made the remarks while addressing a China Daily-hosted forum titled CEO: Growing with China and themed New Year, New Opportunities.
China's opening-up policy has presented new opportunities for foreign financial institutions like Swedish bank SEB, with removed foreign ownership caps in many areas of the financial sector and expanded business scopes for foreign institutions, said Peter Ling-Vannerus, chief representative of SEB Beijing.
He added that one area presenting a huge opportunity for his company and his clients is the green transition that China is going through.
China has stressed at multiple top-level meetings that it will continue to expand opening-up. The Central Economic Work Conference, for instance, has pledged further opening-up at the institutional level, fairer treatment for foreign companies and steps to attract more multinationals.
Ibrahim Chowdhury, the World Bank's acting lead economist for China, said maintaining an outward orientation and continuing the process of opening-up will serve as key drivers of the nation's high-quality growth transition.
China has made a lot of progress in opening up the economy and it is sensible to further open up such services sectors as professional services and IT-enabled services, which will help spur innovation, boost employment and lift economic growth, Chowdhury said.
"China is a very important market for us and we will continue to be there," said Julian MacCormac, country director for China at Rolls-Royce, a British giant in power and propulsion systems.
The company has long-term confidence in China's aviation market, which is expected to become the world's largest one. Also, high-quality growth of China's economy will translate into a growing middle-income group and rising demand for products provided by Rolls-Royce, according to MacCormac.
Similarly, Guy Dru Drury, chief representative of China NE SE Asia for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), commented that China's strong consumer base and improvements in business environment have underpinned CBI member companies' long-term optimism in the Chinese market.
Particularly, the country's progress in strengthening intellectual property protections has been very "encouraging" for British small and medium-sized CBI member companies, Drury said, as these efforts have lifted the efficiency of patent registrations and cracked down on IP infringements.
Business leaders and experts also noted at the forum that there remains ample space for cooperation between the world's two biggest economies and the so-called decoupling between China and the United States, if realized, will be very costly for both sides and the world as a whole.
The forum, aimed at providing a platform for multinationals to exchange ideas and explore new business opportunities in China, was organized by China Daily's business news department and www.chinaservicesinfo.com, a platform aiming to provide foreigners with services related to investment, study, travel, work and living in China.