Sustainable Urbanization has Historic Significance

Editor's Note: The Communist Party of China has just concluded its 19th National Congress in Beijing. China Daily asked business leaders from major multinational companies for their views on economic developments here and the country's global leadership role.

Lim Yoke Loon is Greater China president of The Dow Chemical Company, the second-largest chemical firm in the world and based in the United States.

What have been the most encouraging signs about the Chinese economy this year?

The country has stepped into the era of the "new normal" where GDP (gross domestic product) growth is measured and steady. The livelihoods of people have also benefited through increased employment, a rise in incomes and a slowdown in commodity prices.

And during all this, China has remained the engine of the world's economy.

At 6.9 percent, GDP growth in the first half of the year exceeded expectation. Also, a series of government initiatives have achieved impressive results.

Further economic structural reform on the supply side will ensure the market grows and evolves in a sustainable way. Additionally, the private sector has become a bigger contributor to China's economy after a significant structural adjustment.

What are the challenges facing China's economy?

Low costs gave Made in China products a competitive edge. But a steady increase in various production factors, such as labor, raw materials, land, and social and environmental costs, have thrown up challenges.

The shift away toward technology, and an innovation-fueled business model, will be a necessary and effective strategy. This will bring more opportunities to leading science companies such as Dow.

How can China achieve stable, balanced and sustainable growth?

Urbanization has played a key role in driving economic growth since China's reforms and the decision to open up its economy. For the next five to 10 years, the country will embrace great opportunities, as well as confront challenges in its urbanization endeavors.

Each step must be carefully planned. But achieving sustainable urbanization will be of historic significance for China's social and economic transformation.

The country's major enterprises have achieved great business growth in the past several years. This is illustrated by the number of Chinese companies on the 2017 Fortune Global 500 list, which increased to 115. That was second only to the United States.

While supporting small-and medium-sized businesses, China should continue to encourage the expansion of large companies, and help them play a bigger role in driving the national economy.

What are your views about China's business environment and the consumer sector?

The investment environment in China has changed. The market has become more open and competitive, which in the long term will have a positive effect on all the players in the marketplace.

China is on the frontline of cross-sector innovations with newly emerging markets, business models and technologies. We see exciting opportunities ahead.

Dow's business portfolio and solutions are in line with market needs, from green packaging solutions, which help reduce transportation costs for e-commerce, to high performance insulation solutions for cold chain services.

We are also excited about the government's decision to build new cities, such as Xiongan (New Area in Hebei province) and Zhenjiang (Jiangsu province).

These cities will incorporate leading infrastructure solutions for green buildings, water recycling and new energy. As a leading material science company, we have always used innovation to address the needs of sustainable development.

What opportunities will the Belt and Road Initiative throw up for China and the rest of the world?

The Belt and Road Initiative provides unprecedented opportunities for Chinese and multinational companies. By using advanced technology, these projects will be environmentally sustainable.

For example, by recycling water and using less energy in the construction process, and by using more resilient wire and cable, Belt and Road projects will highlight the latest techniques.

Image: Sustainable Urbanization (Pixabay)

Source: China Daily

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.