What's different about this year’s China Development Forum
Updated 14:40, 24-Mar-2019
Cheng Lei
02:21

The 2019 China Development Forum is in full swing. The number of forum participants has reached 150 this year, a 25-percent rise compared to previous years, which is a reflection of the growing interest in the event.

The forum comes right after the Two Sessions and is the first opportunity for international investors to get clarity on China's reform direction. Aside from the public sessions, there will also be closed-door meetings in the villas of the state guesthouse.

As I look through the participants of this year's forum, I found that the largest representation comes from the areas that have the most to gain from China's new opening-up drive. For example, if one ranks the companies by order, they will find that most CEOs come from the finance and investment sector, with the second most from the industrial sector, and the following two from those of pharmaceuticals and automotive.

Something else I have also noticed is the underrepresentation of U.S. companies compared to last year. Many of the U.S. companies that were here in 2018 are all absent this year with one of the most notable absentees being ExxonMobil. Am I being overly sensitive, or is it really a lot of politicization of business in the U.S.?

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