The Eighth Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference China and the First Global Unicorn CEO Forum was held in Guangzhou on August 30. A gathering of over 700 business and institutional representatives, as well as entrepreneurs and innovators from all social sectors, the event also attracted a plethora of firms from 45 countries and regions, from Fortune Global 500 companies and Chinese central state-owned enterprises to industry leaders to unicorns. It suggested that most global businesses remain sanguine about investing in the southern Chinese city and its future, despite market uncertainties across the world.
To fully live up to its theme – “Investing in Guangzhou Is Investing in the Future”, the Annual Conference included one general meeting and 20 parallel sessions, in addition to nine overseas sessions held in countries like the US (Silicon Valley), Germany (Berlin), Japan (Tokyo), and Singapore. Entrepreneurs throughout the world were invited to discuss business opportunities and sustainable development. Also, the event saw a host of major projects signed by 355 investors from 20 countries and territories, according to Guangzhou Municipal Commerce Bureau. Such will be a boost to Guangzhou’s strategic emerging industries, such as advanced manufacturing, automobile, next-generation information technology, modern commerce, and new energy.
As a core of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), Guangzhou embraces openness and inclusiveness, fosters a sound, efficient business climate, and boasts full-fledged industries. These qualities are the reason it has received tremendous investment from many large multinationals. Beyond an enabling environment for businesses, research and development (R&D), a solid biomedicine foundation and a multitude of universities and medical institutions make the city a draw for companies committed to pharmaceutical R&D and innovation, according to Leon Wang, Executive Vice President International and China President of AstraZeneca, a biopharmaceutical business.
China has now grown into one of the three most important global markets for Unilever’s business growth, said Frank Qu, Head of Unilever China. The consumer goods giant has recently launched its first manufacturing facility for a full portfolio of its products in Guangzhou’s Conghua Mingzhu Industrial Park. This is the largest investment Unilever has ever made in China over recent years and also its first carbon-neutral production site, aiming to build itself into a world-class “lighthouse” factory that spearheads the transformation of manufacturing.
In his address, the General Manager of China Resources Group, Wang Cuijun applauded Guangzhou’s sound business climate and its enduring commitment to reform and opening-up, saying these are what appeal to creators and investors across the world, particularly unicorn companies that master innovative technology, pioneer new frontiers, and create novel models of business. That means a greater number of unicorns will only spur economic growth, he added.
Another highlight at the event was the release of the Global Unicorn Index 2022 Half-Year Report by Rupert Hoogewerf, the chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report. Of 312 unicorns on the list that China houses, 62 come from the GBA, and Guangzhou overtakes Boston to take the 11th spot with 19 unicorns, growing faster than any other Chinese city.
Strong industrial clusters Guangzhou has to offer also lay the groundwork needed for unicorns to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. With sizeable business clusters, the city allows each industry a variety of well-suited application scenarios, and it would be the first choice if artificial intelligence (AI) is to develop an industry-wide reach, said Wang Zai, co-founder and executive president of Cambricon Technologies Corporation Limited, an AI chipmaker.
It has been eight years since the inauguration of the Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference. Beyond a showcase of reform and opening-up successes achieved by Guangdong and even China, the signature event has expanded global investors’ understanding of the GBA, Guangzhou in particular. As of August 2022, 1,658 projects were launched in the city by 335 Fortune Global 500 firms. Greater development and investment opportunities will be created for the global business community as Guangzhou continues to improve its business climate.
Source: Guangzhou Municipal Commerce Bureau