Top business executives return to China: media
Top executives from multinational companies are returning to China to look into the business opportunity presented by China as it is a top manufacturing hub and consumer market for many of the world's largest companies.
Volkswagen AG's chief executive visited China from late January to early February, the company said, while Apple CEO Tim Cook and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla are expected to visit next month, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
Ola Källenius, Mercedes-Benz Group AG's chairman, is also planning a visit to China, the company shared.
Some executives are looking to meet managers, and local business partners and visit local site operations, while others are expected to attend business conferences in China that are planned for the coming months after the optimized COVID-19 response measures.
Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume, also chairman of the group's luxury marque Porsche, arrived in Beijing in January as the first head of an automotive multinational to visit the country in the Lunar New Year. The weeklong trip was made within three months of his visit to China as a member of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's delegation to Beijing in early November.
The latest visit was "a very strong signal to our partners in the region. It makes it clear how important the Chinese market is for us," the journal said quoting Ralf Brandstätter, who heads Volkswagen in China.
A handful of business conferences planned in China in the coming months are also expected to draw many company leaders. They include the China Development Forum scheduled for late March as well as the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern Hainan province.
Top executives weighing a visit to the China Development Forum in Beijing include Apple CEO Tim Cook and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, people familiar with the matter told the journal.
Meanwhile, the Boao Forum will draw top business leaders from other countries, including Andrew Forrest, executive chairman of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, according to a Fortescue spokesman, who said the Australian iron-ore company is committed to engaging with customers in China.