Professor Dona Shared China Outlook on EUCCC conference

20 Dec 2023

On December 5th, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) hosted the China Outlook Conference 2024, aiming to restore confidence in the Chinese market. The conference drew more than a hundred attendees and featured prominent executives and experts from both China and Europe. They shared insights on the evolving dynamics of doing business in China and provided their outlook for 2024.

China Outlook Conference 2024

In recent years, confidence in the Chinese market has declined due to government policies prioritizing ideology over economic concerns. China faces various challenges, including the impact of its zero-COVID policy, escalating geopolitical tensions, increasing debt levels, and sluggish consumption growth. This shift has led to doubts about the reliability, predictability, and efficiency that were once key factors in China's economic success.

Mr. Carlo D’Andrea, Vice President of the European Chamber and Chairman of the Shanghai Board, delivered the opening remarks to welcome attendees.

Mr. Jens Eskelund, President of the European Chamber, along with Professor Roberto Dona and Ms. Mattie Bekink, China Director at Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, The Economist Group, delivered keynote speeches.

Professor Roberto Dona, the Associate Dean of Professional Engagement at International Business School Suzhou (IBSS) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), is an academic and business practitioner with extensive experience in China. In 2021, He was elected as a Board Member of EUCCC. He delivered a captivating keynote speech titled "China Outlook: 202x Back to the Future".

Professor Roberto Dona

Professor Dona commenced with a quiz that unveiled attendees’ expectations for the future of China's economy. In his thought-provoking address, ProfessorDona explored the current economic climate in China, emphasizing the country'sremarkable journey and positioning it as a key player in the global market.Drawing parallels between China's economic history and future trajectory, heunderscored the importance of “Learning from the past to divine the future.”. He introduced an economic theory called "The Convergent Theory" that encompasses a catch-up effect. Professor Dona shared his perspectives on China's outlook, stating,

“As stated in EUCCC PP 2022/2023, China’s predictability, reliability and efficiency would continue to erode. My perspective is twofold: in the short term, we can take a wait-and-see approach, while in the medium to long term, there is potential for growth. Additionally, businesses in China may need to consider ambidextrous strategic approaches at this time.”

In the following roundtable discussion, six guests engaged in heated discussions around the theme "China Economic Outlook: Challenges and Opportunities." They offered in-depth analyses and lively exchanges from different perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing the Chinese economy. The guests unanimously affirmed Professor Dona's speech content, finding it thought-provoking. Ms. Mattie Bekink, China Director at Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, The Economist Group, in her speech on "Navigating Uncertainty and Ensuring Business Continuity in the Chinese Market," also noted the alignment of her views with those of Professor Dona. She emphasized that flexible strategies can ensure businesses adapt to rapidly changing market environments.

The China Outlook Conference 2024, hosted by EUCCC, brought together influential leaders, industry experts, and decision-makers to exchange ideas and perspectives on China's economic outlook. The event provided a valuable platform for participants to gain strategic insights, network with peers, and explore potential business opportunities.

About the European Chamber:

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China was founded in 2000 by 51 member companies that shared the goal of establishing a common voice for the various business sectors of the European Union and European businesses operating in China. It is a member-driven, non-profit, fee-based organisation with a core structure of 26 Working Groups and 9 Fora representing European business in China.

20 Dec 2023