Suzhou Executive Academy: “The Role of PPPs in Today’s China

December 09, 2019

“The Future of Public-Private Partnerships” was the topic shared during the most recent Suzhou Executive Academy seminar hosted on 28th Novemeber 2019. More than 30 executives, alumni, faculty and students gathered for the talk, which covered recent developments in PPPs in the UK, then explored what these changes mean for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in China.

The key takeaway? The need for PPP remains strong, despite a backdrop of economic and societal change in both the UK and China. Said Dr Sophie Sturup, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design at XJTLU: “The services and infrastructure that society needs have always been provided by a mix of the private sector and government, in various forms of partnership. There is no reason to think that is going to change.” Turning specifically to the situation in China, she added: “The focus in China of capturing these partnerships to create harmonious and moderate growth draws attention to the nature of these partnerships and highlights the social contract under which the private sector operates -- something broadly needed in the global PPP market.” Dr Sturup is a member of the Chinese PPP Research Forum and the PPPs International Scholars Network.

Adding further insight to the discussion, Mr Song Yang, Senior Associate of Jumbo Consulting, predicted that PPPs will continue to serve an important role by providing resources to local governments across China. “Although faced with increasingly strict regulations, PPP will still be one of the major financing mechanisms for China’s local governments.” Looking ahead, Mr Yang expects China’s domestic policy, legal and institutional environment to “become more and more mature” as well as more “consistent with international best practices.”

Finally, Professor Adam Cross, inaugural Head of the Department of International Relations, shared his recent research on PPP in China including theoretical assumptions on the benefits of these partnerships from the perspective of the Chinese government.

During the lively panel discussion, the three guests expressed different views on topics including whether the government has a responsibility to ensure the profitability of the private sector.

The Suzhou Executive Academy (SEA) is a unique education platform created by International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) for business leaders in the Yangtze River Delta region. SEA events bring together a community of like-minded business and academic professionals and offer a global insight into a variety of business issues, as well as the exclusive access to a high-level executive network.

By Qihan Huang and Laurie Underwood

Photos by Xinyi Lv

December 09, 2019