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China to speed up breeding multinational corporations (11/07/03)

   China hopes that more local corporations will be listed among the world top 500 in the future.

   "We will actively foster our own multinationals," said Vice-Premier Wu Yi at the World Economic Development Declaration Conference, which ended in Zhuhai China on Nov.7.

   Wu said that China will create all kinds of favorable conditions to help domestic companies to further explore overseas markets and engage more strongly in global economic competition and cooperation.

   Economists agreed that Wu's speech indicated China's full confidence of sending its local companies abroad.

   The latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that for the past 20 years, Chinese firms have grown stronger. In 2002, the turnover from China's top 500 industrial companies accounted for 68 percent of the gross domestic product of the country.

   With growing strength, more and more companies began to set their eyes abroad. Statistics showed that 12 domestic companies have been listed among the world's top 500.

   Multinationals are considered one of the most important powers of globalization. Statistics show that turnover of multinationals accounted for one third of the world's output value. Trade volume among multinationals has accounted for more than 60 percent of the total in the world.

China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Imp. & Exp. Corporation, one of the global top 500, has become the largest food company in China. Zhou Mingchen, chairman of the company, noted that his company has good relations with counterparts abroad and they are expecting more cooperation.

   A lot of private companies also stand out. Gree Corp., the largest air conditioner producer, set up its first overseas branch in Brazil in 2001. So far, the overseas market contributed to one fourth of its total sales.

   TCL Corporation, one of the largest TV set producers in China, merged with France-based Thomson SA on Nov. 4 to set up the world' s largest TV producer with an annual capacity of 18 million sets. Total assets of the new company reached 450 million euros.   The central government is also adopting measures to help these companies go overseas.

 Since October 2002, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange has launched a trial in 14 provinces and municipalities to grant its branches greater power to approve foreign exchange use for companies to invest abroad.

 Wang Maolin, president of China International Institute of Multinational Corporations, said most companies going abroad are driven by market demand.

   "The top 100 Chinese firms and top ten private businesses have been pushed such a need," said Wang.

 Prof. Zhang Youhuai with the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Social Sciences, shared the same idea with Wang. He suggested that local companies, with the strength to take the opportunity of new-round international readjustment of industries, woo more capital, talents and technology to join in international competition.

  International organizations are also optimistic about China's move. Dominic Barton, Chairperson of Asia Pacific Region of Mckinsey & Company, said that now only 2.4 percent of the global top 500 are Chinese companies. The figure is expected to increase by a large margin in the next few years.



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