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China and the G20. ‘Inclusive’ is the new normal.

Hangzhou - G20 summit location 2016 Notes cover

The 2015 G20 is finished and thoughts now turn to the 2016 summit to be held in Hangzhou, next September.

Where?! I hear Westerners say. Well, amongst other things Hangzhou has one of the largest railway stations in the world and features in my recent book ‘Notes from a Beijing coffee shop’ as the home of Yuan Rui Ming featured in Chapter 10.


However, hangzhou is also the vibrant and entrepreneurial home of Alibaba now famous for having the biggest stock exchange listing in history as well as the driver behind 11.11 singles day, the online shopping phenomina which resulted this year in over RMB14bn being spent on-line in one day! The G20 will be blessed with residing in a brand new complex overlooking the river in Hangzhou which for centuries has been a major source of trade and commerce. only an hour on the high speed train from Shanghai, Hangzhou is the beautiful and serene sister to the fast moving and fast money Shanghai.

Clearly the world is currently pre-occupied by non business issues and the tragic events in Paris and Mali. However, the stated Chinese agenda for the G20 event in China is interesting.

‘Building an innovative, invigorated, integrated and inclusive world economy’.

The use of the word ‘inclusive’ is interesting. I saw it emblazoned across the backdrop for the 21 member Asia-Pacific meeting this week in Manilla in the Philippines so it’s clearly already catching on. it was also intewresting that the Chinese Foreign Minisrty only confirmed Xi Jinping’s attendance on 9th November, a little late but not too late, as ever in china. All this despite the recent territorial spats with the Philippines over the South China Sea islands.

In my time here in China I have been impressed and often surprised at how interconnected the Chinese see the world and how inclusive they want to be. This is not the perception busienss people in the West have of the coountry. I meet people outside the country who remain deeply suspiciuos of China’s motives. They see a country that has achieved phenominal economic growth, almost by stealth, and fear an economic powerhouse exisitng in some form of vacum or parallel universe. The UK and US media feeding frenzy and howls of outrage surrounding investment when the Chinese President visited both countries recently seem to support this.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In all my conversatios, many captured in my books, almost every business person I have ever spoken to in China accepts and welcomes the fact that big business is interconnected. They all believe China has a major role to play in manufacturing, financing and increasingly, technology but no one thinks China exists or can operate in splendid isolation.

As this amazing country opens up still further I look forward to more people in the West getting this.

Hopefully the greater openness we are seeing as well as next year’s G20 will accelerate the process.