Bringing together experts, academics, and professionals for an East-West dialogue, the Chengwei Europe Forum 2012, on 6 November, featured 25 speakers including Xiaoming Liu, China’s Ambassador to the UK; Andrew Scott, Deputy Dean and Professor of Economics, London Business School; Shang Zhong, Minister of Commerce, People’s Republic of China, and Wenjian Fang, Director and CEO, Bank of China.
As China prepares for a leadership change and faces tremendous growth uncertainty, the conference posed a number of questions to its expert panellists:
Should the renminbi appreciate or depreciate at a time of dollar depreciation and the European debt crisis?
How will China continue its transformation when faced with sluggish domestic consumption and a weak export sector?
How can domestic companies start their globalisation journey after encountering repeated setbacks overseas?
Speaking on the topic of domestic consumption and debt, London Business School’s Prof Andrew Scott said: “Debt isn’t a threat to China’s economy. “It makes perfect sense to increase consumer lending in China. The challenge is how.”
This was in the wake of comments from fellow panellist, Dr Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist of Standard Chartered, on the same topic, who said that the often heard phrase, ‘Made in China’, should become ‘Bought in China’.
Chinese statesman and economist, Prof Cheng Siwei, stressed the need for China to "rely more on domestic consumption", which he did not consider to be an easy job, as salary is only linked with inflation in some parts of the country, but not others. Ultimately he highlighted the need for the country to promote innovation and provide new products.
"The Chinese,” Prof Siwei said, have "the desire to improve their lives".
The event comes ahead of London Business School’s China Business Forum on Saturday 10 November, marking the end of the School’s China Week.