China embraces global businesses with major tech forums, in clear rejection of US’ containment
Chinese openness provides greater opportunities, rejecting US’ containment
Published: May 26, 2023 09:50 PM

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Photo: Li Hao/GT

China is making clear its unwavering commitment to openness and global cooperation in scientific and technological innovation with two major tech forums that have brought together businesses and scholars from around the world, in a resounding rejection of the US' attempt to smear and contain China. 

At the 2023 ZGC Forum in Beijing and the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2023 in Guiyang, Southwest China Guizhou Province, global business executives and scholars spoke highly of China's continuous opening-up and the vast opportunities it presents for not just businesses, but also global development at large. 

"China has an incredible mix of expertise and experience. It's investing in scientific and technological innovation… China will be able to make unique contributions to sharing its technologies," Bill Gates, co-founder of US-tech giant Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a speech at the ZGC Forum on Friday. 

Gates is among the many foreign guests at the ZGC Forum, which officially kicked off on Thursday night and will run through May 30. Taking place in Beijing's Zhongguancun area, often described as China's "Silicon Valley," the state-level forum has attracted about 120 top experts from China and around the world, including 17 Nobel Prize laureates. The number of foreign speakers account for more than 40 percent of all presentations, and more than 120 foreign companies and entities are participating in the event, official data showed. 

German multinational conglomerate Siemens is among the foreign businesses attending the forum. "[The ZGC Forum] not only demonstrates China's firm commitment to promoting global openness, innovation, exchanges and cooperation, but also allows the world to see the huge potential of China's high-quality development driven by scientific and technological innovation," Wang Haibin, executive vice president of Siemens Ltd., China, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Friday. 

German firms are under growing pressure to shift away from the Chinese market as Berlin seeks to cut dependence on China, but Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens, has made it clear that leaving China was "not an option" and that "I will defend my market share, and if I can, I will expand it," according to the Financial Times.

While the US and some of its allies are pushing for "decoupling" or "de-risking" from China by exerting pressure on multinationals and even imposing restrictions on businesses, China is showing its unwavering commitment to opening-up and the Chinese market is still "powerfully attractive" to global businesses, Ma Jihua, a veteran industry expert, told the Global Times. 

The growing attractiveness of the Chinese market is also on vivid display at the Big Data Expo 2023 in Guiyang. The event, which opened on Friday, attracted more than 320 leading industry players both from China and abroad. Many foreign businesses were keen to share their optimism about the Chinese market and its vast potential. 

"If you talk about innovation and new technology, it has to be China, right? You cannot deny that," Malseni Jamal, chief operating officer at Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Berhad from Malaysia, told the Global Times on Friday at the expo. "A lot of new things are coming from China. Then they expand to other parts of the world and they are improving. So that is why I felt that China is the right place for me to go," said Jamal.

Jamal said that she was looking for Chinese exhibitors for the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak 2023 to be held in October in Sarawak, Malaysia. Guiyang is her first stop and she will later attend expos in Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing to seek more Chinese participants.

"The potential in the Chinese market is very positive," Edmond Agboifo, CEO and founder of Deried-Edmonds Investments Co from Nigeria, told the Global Times on Friday at the expo. 

"We are a foreign company located in Shanghai and we have two mobile applications that use artificial intelligence, big data analysis and other high-tech to connect Chinese sellers with global customers. We have served thousands of Chinese customers and millions of customers in the world with our own system," said Agboifo.

The Big Data Expo has drawn nearly 50 foreign businesses from 24 countries and regions, including Microsoft and Panasonic. 

"Panasonic's business in the Chinese market has maintained a good momentum of development. We have high expectations for the Chinese market and are expanding new business," Guang Wei, director of BDA product marketing sales at Panasonic, which is also attending the Big Data Expo 2023, told the Global Times on Friday.

The Japan-based firm entered China in the late 1970s and now has 70 companies operating in China, employing more than 50,000 people, according to the company's official website. 

Japan recently joined the US in imposing restrictions on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, drawing a harsh response from China's Ministry of Commerce, which called the move a "mistake" that the Japanese government must correct. 

Japan also hosted the recently-concluded G7 summit, where the group smeared China with claims such as "economic coercion" and calls for "de-risking." 

However, the growing presence of global businesses in the Chinese market shows that the US-led push for technological decoupling is unpopular and many around the world are still focusing on global cooperation promoted by China, Ma said.