Fueling growth with innovation
Uche Okoronkwo
02:17

Top players in China's private sector enlighten us on their proposals to improve the trajectory of business enterprises this coming year. 

Captain of industry and Chairwoman of Gree electronics, Dong Mingzhu advised local businesses to take advantage of the National People Congress (NPC)'s decision to cut taxes further this year, to churn money back into innovation. She says Chinese firms need to shake off their reliance on foreign technology. 

In the agriculture sector, enterprises from the smaller cities point out that the next growth point for the internet and tech firms will be in the rural areas. As technology emerges as a new tool for farmers, they say companies building platforms to enable trade in agriculture would thrive. 

An online retailer says her suggestion is to become more profitable by enabling farmers to have more access to online platforms without having to leave their farm or village. She hopes the government can work on creating better channels for farmers to have better access to technological platforms.

The Beijing headquarter of Alibaba Group, February 23, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Beijing headquarter of Alibaba Group, February 23, 2019. /VCG Photo

China is a hive of technology. It is home to world-class companies that are quite frankly giving silicon valley a run for its money, not just in size and growth, but most significantly in innovation.

To give you just a few examples, Alibaba is the world's largest ecommerce company. It has revolutionized the way small businesses sell by creating a sophisticated online ecosystem. TenCent's WeChat application has surpassed Facebook in value, offering a myriad of services to its users. Huawei has become a world leader in networking equipment and smartphones, dominating markets in the west and in Africa.

What I have observed is that China's government is pretty serious about fueling that innovation as a major driver of its economy.

At the annual 2019 Two Sessions meetings, the government stressed that one of its top tasks would be pursuing innovation driven development, through new regulation, internet plus initiatives and a new science and tech innovation board among others. Its aim is to take a global lead in AI development by boosting investment in technologies and training more professionals in the country.

What I also observed is a louder call from China's private sector to take advantage of the NPC's decision to cut taxes further this year, to churn money back into innovation. They say Chinese firms need to shake off their reliance on foreign technology. In the agriculture sector, enterprises from smaller cities say the next growth point for the internet and tech firms will be in the rural areas. As technology emerges as a new tool for farmers, companies building platforms to enable trade in agriculture will thrive.