You can't import without companies, and if you want to know about the opening of China's economy, you need to know about Chinese firms first. These play a vital role in the second China International Import Expo (CIIE).
"China is a large trading country, but to remain strong in trade it needs to have a global strategy and not just buy and sell. In this process, Chinese companies can influence the world in many ways, for example, through foreign investment and exports to other countries," said Bai Ming, professor from the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.
In fact, Chinese enterprises are also importing while exporting. It is a two-way allocation of resources, according to Bai, "as resources are shared with each other…China's development in this way creates a virtuous cycle."
Chinese companies on the global stage
129 Chinese companies were listed on Fortune's Global 500 list this year, beating the U.S.' 121.
Among those listed were 88 state-owned enterprises and 28 private companies from the Chinese mainland, including Alibaba, Tencent, China Mobile, Haier and COSCO Shipping.
Chinese enterprises have been striving globally for investment and trade cooperation.
By the end of 2018, 933 Chinese firms had invested in outbound economic and trade cooperation zones in places such as Malaysia, Thailand and Ethiopia.
The accumulated investment reached almost 21 billion U.S. dollars. Taxes and dues handed over to host countries totaled 2.28 billion U.S. dollars, and some 147,000 jobs were created.
For 2018 alone, new investments in these zones totaled 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, while taxes and dues to host countries reached 590 million U.S. dollars.
Chinese companies play an important role in China's economic transformation, Bai reckoned, explaining that through imports from foreign companies, Chinese enterprises meet their own needs and thereby also contribute to China's economic development.
"From a global enterprise perspective, China's expanded appetite for imports benefits global development and also raises the quality of China's own industries. Therefore, the industrial upgrading is not only for China itself, it will also inevitably expand China's footprints in global development," he added.
International cooperation of Chinese companies
Cooperating with others has helped Chinese companies better integrate into the global value chain of production, supply and distribution.
Foreign companies set an example for Chinese companies in terms of regulation, market management and technological innovation. This has not only helped build competitive markets but also made industries more effective.
At the same time, Chinese companies have been at the forefront in other areas.
In 2018, four of the top 10 semiconductor buyers in the world were Chinese: Huawei, Lenovo, BBK Electronics and Xiaomi.
China has now become the world's largest market for semiconductor chips. Last year, sales of chips totaled over 158 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for over 33 percent of the global total.
"China's economy is still in a critical period of transformation and upgrading. Enterprises are also shifting towards middle-to-high-end products, which means foreign high-end products are still in great demand," cited Zhao Shuogang, professor at the State Information Center.
Chinese companies are thriving but they also need to cooperate with their counterparts worldwide. Together they can contribute to the world economy.