China to host global honchos’ meet

Himalayan News Service

Beijing, May 15:

Underlining its growing economic clout, China is hosting the Fortune Global Forum that will see more than 800 corporate honchos and senior executives from the world’s top 500 companies in attendance, reports Xinhuanet.

“China has a continued story of growth that our delegates are very interested in,” said Robert Bierman, president of the Conference Division of Fortune Magazine, which has organised the three-day long forum that opens here on May 16.

Chinese president Hu Jintao will address the opening ceremony. Several officials including minister of commerce Bo Xilai and president of People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan will speak at the forum.

Bierman said China had become an important player in both the region and the world and there was a lot of curiosity about that among the business community.

Zhao Qizheng, head of the state council information office, a co-sponsor of the Beijing Forum, attributed the large scale of the forum to the increasing attraction of China. China’s economy has grown at nine per cent over the past 20 years. In 2004, its gross domestic product (GDP) reached $164 billion, up by 9.5 per cent over the previous year. The country is the world’s third largest trader, after the US and Japan. “The world’s businessmen eyed China’s economic potential six years ago in Shanghai, and now these potentials have come true. The focus will be turned to the continuity and expansion of such potential,” said an observer.

As an official from General Motors, China said in the 21st century, which has been called ‘The Asian Century’, no company could succeed without tapping the potential of Chinese and Asian markets.

China earlier hosted the forum in 1999 in Shanghai and in 2001 Hong Kong.

Exports zoom

BEIJING: China’s exports increased by 34 per cent year-on-year to touch $218.05 billion in the first four months of the year. The country’s imports rose by 13.3 per cent to $196.87 billion in the same period. China’s trade surplus stood at $21.17 billion in the first four months of 2005 with the country recording a $4.59 billion trade surplus in April alone. The EU remained China’s biggest trading partner with a bilateral trade of $65.2 billion from January to April, followed by the US and Japan with trade volumes at $61.28 billion and $57.54 billion respectively. Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shanghai remained the top three exporting zones.

Crude imports grew fairly fast in April. China’s energy crunch has yet to be eased amid rapid economic expansion. Oil imports decreased by 1.7 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, but the trend reversed in April, leading to a rise of 4.4 per cent in the first four months. Also in the first four months, imports of coal hit 7.37 million tonnes and iron ore 87.49 million tonnes, registering a respective growth of 49.6 per cent and 28 per cent. Machinery and electronic products are the bellwether among Chinese exports. In the January-April period, exports of theses items reached $119.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 34 per cent. Exports of clothes and related accessories also rose by 15.6 per cent to $19.27 billion. — HNS