German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab was honored with China Reform Friendship Medal at a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy in Beijing on Tuesday.
In 1971, Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), started the annual meeting which drew numerous business, government and civil society leaders to the Swiss town of Davos to brainstorm solutions for global challenges.
In 1979, Schwab paid his first visit to China and started to involve China into the annual meetings, soon after China launched its reform and opening-up policy in 1978. Schwab said he was delighted about his engagement with China in the past four decades.
"Over the past 40 years, there have been many critics and pessimists, who always forecasted that China's economic growth would come to an end, but they turned to be wrong," Schwab said in Tianjin ahead of the 2018 Summer Davos. "I remain optimistic," he added.
In April 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Schwab and said China's cooperation with the WEF had coincided with the country's reform and opening-up process.
"The WEF takes pride in cooperation with China over the past 40 years," Schwab said in the meeting, adding that the WEF was ready to improve long-term cooperation with China.
In January 2017, President Xi delivered a keynote speech at the WEF annual meeting on globalization, trade protectionism, climate change, development, and China's economy. Schwab said Xi's speech last year was impressive and highly appreciated by the world.
In 2007, the foundation also established the Annual Meeting of the New Champions or Summer Davos, which is held annually in China's Dalian or Tianjin to bring together participants from global growth companies, the next generation of global leaders, as well as technology pioneers.