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In Berlin to build bridges, not walls

Source: China Daily Europe | Date: 15-11-16  
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Chinese entrepreneurs visit Germany and Italy to seek greater understanding and common ground

Speaking in Germany's capital, the chairman of one of China's biggest investment companies noted this year's 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall to make a powerful point.

Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun International Ltd, said it is important to tear down the many invisible walls between countries that are hindering economic cooperation.

Chinese entrepreneurs visit Germany and Italy to seek greater understanding and common ground

Speaking in Germany's capital, the chairman of one of China's biggest investment companies noted this year's 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall to make a powerful point.

Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun International Ltd, said it is important to tear down the many invisible walls between countries that are hindering economic cooperation.

Xu Jinghong, chairman of Tsinghua Holdings, a state-owned high-tech company, talked about the boom in entrepreneurship in China in the past two years.

"Since 2014, China has seen about 10,000 new, small enterprises emerging every day," he says, adding that these new, vigorous companies will pave the way for long-lasting growth of the Chinese economy.

Xu says there will also be a need for technology innovation and innovation in business models. China has a huge market, but many companies still lack original technology and are following the steps of international leaders, Xu says. Germany has many original technologies that have not been applied to the market yet, so there will be a large space for cooperation.

"In the future, companies that look for long-term development have to first break down their own inner barriers and develop with an open and cooperative attitude," he says.

Xu says despite the economic slowdown, there also are new growth areas. Tsinghua Holdings has grown in the past three years, and by the end of this year, its assets will exceed $30 billion. He says the company will work to develop business in healthcare and environmental technologies.

Xu Xiaonian, an economist and professor of economics and finance at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, who is a consultant with the club, says the outside world's confusion about China's economic slowdown derives from their misunderstanding of China's economic development models.

He says there have been two models, the first of which was from the start of reform and opening-up, which began in the late 1970s, until the mid-1990s.

"During this period, the government reduced the restrictions of the planned economy system on the market, and introduced creativity and vitality to the market and private capital," he says. In that period, the economy developed at about 10 percent annually.

But from the mid-1990s until now, he says, the Chinese economy's development has been based more on the government issuing currency and pursuing fiscal expenditures to drive growth. This model is based on the input of more resources rather than improvements in efficiency, so it is unsustainable.

Xu says the unsustainable economic growth mode has met with big difficulties, and the Chinese government and market are now engaged in economic transformation. That includes pushing forward economic reform, relying on the strength of market and private forces to produce innovation, improving efficiency and making Chinese economic growth sustainable. There will be some difficult times in the meantime, but China's potential and strength are still there, he says.

Ma, the club president, says the trend of Chinese companies going global won't be affected by the economic slowdown in China. Last year, he says, China invested in the largest number of projects it ever had in Germany, illustrating the determination of Chinese entrepreneurs to explore overseas markets.

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