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MNCs share optimistic outlook on China market

China Daily Updated: 2023-02-15
(First row left to right) Nicolas Poirot, president and CEO of Air Liquide China; Xia Fuliang, president of Evonik Greater China; (second row left to right) Xie Xue, president of Vale China; Rajat Agarwal, president of Henkel Greater China; Julian MacCormac, regional director of Rolls-Royce Greater China.

Editor's Note: China Daily is publishing interviews with CEOs of major foreign enterprises to gauge their outlook for the Chinese economy, their operations in China and their business plans for 2023.

Q1 Given the backdrop of a feared global economic recession, threats to global supply chains and the deep impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, what's your outlook for China's economy and your company's operations in China in 2023?

POIROT: Many economists have expressed optimism for China's economic outlook, predicting that there will be a rebound from the second quarter or second half of this year. Air Liquide has maintained solid growth in China amid multiple global challenges — such as an economic slowdown, supply chain disruptions, energy and climate crises — while guaranteeing stable supplies of essential products to customers in all sectors. In 2022, we put several new production facilities into operation in Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and the provinces of Zhejiang, Sichuan, Jiangsu and Shandong to increase future supply. With the revival of the market, we remain confident in our operations in China for 2023.

XIA: With the updated COVID-19 policies, China is quickly rebounding from the pandemic. It is expected that China's economy will achieve an overall recovery and improvement in 2023. The boost from China's reopening will also inject impetus into the global economy and bring confidence to the business community worldwide. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of specialty chemicals. Evonik wants to grow with the Chinese market; therefore, we are increasing our local footprint to better serve the market by continuously expanding our local innovation and production capabilities.

XIE: The optimization of the COVID-19 measures could set the stage for an earlier-than-expected recovery of China's economy. It is almost a consensus that China's economy will embrace an overall recovery in 2023. Recent market consensus for China's GDP growth this year is between 5.0 percent and 5.7 percent. Our outlook for the country's economy remains positive, as China is the only country in the world that has all the industrial categories listed in the UN industrial classification and is the world's largest producer of over 220 types of industrial products. It enjoys complete and stable industrial and supply chains. Even in the very tough last year, China's economy showed remarkable resilience.

AGARWAL: In the first nine months of 2022, Henkel delivered a strong business performance globally. China is the third-largest market for Henkel and the Chinese economy continues to show resilience. Locally, we are proud of the contributions made to the overall growth of our business.

Over the years, China has been providing significant support for global industrial and supply chains, creating a stable and sound environment for growth for multinationals like Henkel.

Looking at 2023, we believe in the potential, resilience and long-term sustainability of the Chinese economy. Moving forward, we will continue to invest in China to accelerate impactful local innovations and strengthen end-to-end capabilities, combining our global experience in sustainability to support our customers and consumers in China.

MACCORMAC: We expect to see recovery in the aviation sector in China over the coming months, and we are confident that our industry will benefit significantly from the new policies in 2023.Aviation connects people and businesses around the world and is essential to support growth globally. We have already seen a recovery in international travel elsewhere in the world as countries have lifted travel restrictions. As we enter 2023, when China is poised to reconnect internationally, we are confident we will see a strong recovery in China as well.

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