This photo taken on April 14, 2023 shows the inauguration ceremony of an Airbus research center in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province. (Xinhua)
Many international CEOs recent visits to China have proved how U.S media outlets were wrong in claiming international businesses seek ways to "decouple" from China. Instead, they hate the idea of decoupling.
There has recently been a growing trend for international CEOs to visit China. Many entrepreneurs' trips to China to explore opportunities prove how U.S media outlets like The New York Times (NYT) were wrong in claiming international businesses seek ways to "decouple" from China. Instead, they hate the idea of decoupling.
It's also easy to nail another lie made by NYT that "China has grown less business-friendly." Apple CEO Tim Cook's recent China tour can serve as a counterargument.
During his one-week visit to China in March, the Apple chief shared multiple posts on China's social media platform Weibo, showcasing pictures and videos of himself smiling among a large group of Chinese customers and staff at the first Apple store in China.
Cook was in China for the China Development Forum 2023, a conference featuring the attendance of international executives of giants like Aramco, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, Shell and Johnson & Johnson. At the forum, Cook said that "Apple and China grew together."
The long list of the forum's delegates indicates that China remains a magnet for foreign businesses.
It's difficult not to notice the actions of foreign companies in China, such as their growing investments, project launches and store openings. For instance, automaker Tesla announced in April it would open a factory in Shanghai to make Megapack batteries, and European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is also planning to build a second Final Assembly Line in China to expand the production capacity of the A320 family of passenger aircraft.
Meanwhile, foreign direct investment in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 2.2 percent year on year to 499.46 billion yuan (70 billion U.S. dollars) in the first four months of the year, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.
There are many reasons for international CEOs and investors to cast their votes of confidence in the Chinese market.
First, their history of "growing together" with China gives them more expectations for the future. For decades, many multinational enterprises have shared the dividends of China's rapid progress while making contributions to China's economy.
Twenty years after BMW first set foot in China, the German auto giant has now built its largest global production base in China.
The Chinese market is "dynamic and resilient," said Milan Nedeljkovic, member of the board of management of BMW AG, adding that "there is a significant opportunity for investments of foreign companies, which gives the win-win situation for both China and the investors."
Second, for many foreign companies, China today is not merely a production base and a vast market but also a source of innovation. BMW established its largest R&D and innovation network outside Germany in China.
China's manufacturing sector boasts enormous development potential, and relatively complete ecosystems, which gives the Asian country comparative advantages in advancing high-tech industries. That's why a recent report released by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China shows roughly 60 percent of the companies surveyed will increase "greatly" or "somehow" their R&D spending in China in the next five years.
Third, at a time when a global economic slowdown coupled with plenty of uncertainties has buffeted international businesses, the Chinese government has continuously introduced favorable policies to foster a sound business environment for foreign businesses and bolster its investment liberalization and facilitation.
China has expanded its free trade pilot zones from one to 21. The entire island of Hainan has been turned into a free trade port. In 2022, China fully implemented the shortened negative list for foreign investment, expanded the encouraged investment catalog and added more cities to a pilot program to open up the service sector.
This photo taken on Aug. 21, 2020 shows a logo of TikTok's Los Angeles Office in Culver City, Los Angeles County, the United States. (Xinhua)
Around the same time Cook was embraced in China, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew endured nearly six hours of intense grilling by U.S. lawmakers, who enacted a blatant political ploy to portray the video-sharing social networking company as a national security threat. Lacking evidence, the only excuse by which the lawmakers singled out TikTok as the must-be-banned app is that its parent company, ByteDance, operates in China.
TikTok is not the only victim of Washington's suppression. The United States has put more than 1,000 Chinese companies, including ZTE, Huawei and DJI, on various sanctions lists, using national security as an excuse to clamp down on Chinese social media apps such as TikTok and WeChat.
Also, in recent years, Washington has frequently restricted investment in telecommunications, semiconductor, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies sectors for "endangering national security" and included foreign entities or individuals on the entity list of export controls.
China welcomes foreign companies to invest, or to expand their presence. In vivid contrast, the United States "has grown less business-friendly." Trying to pin the blame on China will only make America less desirable for global businesses.