French companies value China’s key standing in global supply chain
Published: Aug 28, 2020 05:17 PM

An Airbus A350-1000 aircraft flies at the 53rd International Paris Air Show in June 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Despite the US' rising anti-globalization and protectionist tendencies, China and France continue to move forward and deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation. French companies have already found great development opportunities in China; in fact, in the post-pandemic era, their confidence in the Chinese market will only further increase, betting on China's large role in the global economy and supply chain.

"With the door of China opening wider and wider, our confidence in the Chinese market is stronger than ever before," L'Oréal Group, a France-based beauty group, told the Global Times on Friday. 

"China is the world's second largest consumer market; as it continues to grow, its role in the global economy and supply chain will only become greater," it said.

China is now L'Oréal's second largest market, which has driven the Asia-Pacific market to become the group's top regional market. Following a series of government measures and beneficial policies to stimulate consumption and raise the quality level of consumption, L'Oréal saw its sales grow 17.5 percent in China in the first half of this year, outperforming the sales drop of 11.7 percent globally over the same period.

The company said it is preparing for the 3rd China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November. "We believe that a China that continues to become more resilient and more open; a China where hundreds of millions of people yearn for a better life, and a China that has never been more important in the global value chain, will definitely create bigger opportunities for our development," it said.

In addition, European plane manufacturer Airbus - which has been present in China for several decades now - told the Global Times on Friday that China is not only an important market for the company, but a long-term strategic partner and key player in Airbus' global supply chain.

With over 1,800 aircraft currently in service in China, Airbus has around a 50 percent share in the market, in stark contrast to only 9 percent in 1995. Meanwhile, Airbus Helicopters holds a 36 percent market share in China's civil helicopter sector as it has more than 320 helicopters across the country.

"Our strategies in China won't change for the long-term. We remain confident in the prospects of the Chinese aviation market," Airbus said, noting that although the pandemic will flatten or slow the trajectory of growth in the aviation industry in the upcoming years, the fundamental trends will not change.

As China's recent focus on ecological improvement becomes more profound, the Chinese market also offers huge potential for French companies in a number of new sectors, such as waste recycling, according to French businesspeople.

"We have seen improved public awareness [in China] for the need to separate and recycle waste. We also see that the government is looking for solutions from around the world," Steve Clark, CEO of SUEZ Asia, told the Global Times.

Yin Zheng, executive vice-president of Schneider Electric and president of Schneider Electric China, said China's efforts to protect the intellectual property rights, and its commitment to treat Chinese and foreign investors equally make it more convenient for multinational corporations to operate in China, and Schneider Electric more confident in planning long-term in China.

Yin said that China has become one source of innovation for the company rather than just a market, and the company's investment in R&D in China has increased 15 percent in 2020, and will continue to grow.

An official of the Chinese Ministry of Finance said in July that China and France have agreed to expand "two-way opening-up" and deepen trade and investment cooperation during the 7th High Level Economic and Financial Dialogue held in July. "China will unswervingly promote high level 'opening-up' and welcomes more French companies and financial institutions to invest and establish businesses in the country," the official said.

The two countries will deepen cooperation on projects in manufacturing and the aeronautical field, while also innovatively building new cooperation models in sectors including agriculture, finance and green economy, the official said.
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