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Boao Forum 2017 touts global solutions for Asia

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

03-24-2017 17:02 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CCTV.com Panview Opinion page commentator and editor

The 2017 Boao Forum for Asia, held in China's southern island Hainan Province, welcomes high-level government and business officials who are based in the region.

The theme, "Globalization and Free Trade: The Asian Perspective" highlights Beijing's suggestions for Asian countries to support further economic integration in the continent and play a bigger role in global governance mechanisms.

According to the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) press release, 44 formal discussions would address topics including: Belt & Road, education, finance manufacturing, 4.0 industrial revolution, Asian startups, virtual reality (VR), innovations in China, Greentech and more.

Organizers have opened up a platform to promote globalism as the right solution to confront present-day challenges.

Boao city gets boost

Meanwhile, the tourist city, Boao, has hosted the forum each spring since 2002. The tourist town has embarked on major infrastructure development, transforming into a hot-spot for global elites to visit annually.

"The influence of Boao has had on Hainan is actual and far-reaching in many aspects," Chi Fulin, director of Hainan-based China Institute for Reform & Development, told China Daily.

Chi added, "Hainan's brand, it's visibility and reputations have been notably advanced thanks to Boao, and hence the rapid development of its tourism industry, the surge of outside investment and the inevitable promotion of local economic growth and social development."

Last year, provincial GDP (gross domestic product) had risen 7.5 percent to RMB404.5bn. Hainan Gov. Liu Ciqui pledged 501 major projects are set for development for 2017 at a total cost of RMB228.8bn.

The projects are expected to upgrade the province's top 12 pillars of industry, which includes the tourism sector.

Expanding a global reach

The BFA holds an ambitious agenda not only to promote Hainan tourism, but to discuss trend-setting topics for global opinion makers, as well as for government and business officials.

The future of geo-politics and the international business climate does appear in flux. It's difficult to determine what the immediate and mid-term future holds. Will sovereign governments place stakes on trade protectionism or will globalism continue to flourish?

Beijing is betting on greater success of internationalism that favors more cross-border trade and investments with inclusive and sustainable economic growth patterns.

Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 that would connect the regions of Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa with the building of major infrastructure projects, such as logistics, energy and manufacturing hubs.

The rebuilding of global trade and investment networks can better connect participating countries of the B&R with each other.

Upgrading with innovations

Chinese companies also hope to expand their global presence, while shifting towards innovations and exporting high-quality products that meet the rigorous standards and expectations of Western consumers.

Additionally, the development of AI (artificial intelligence) and robots signal a dramatic change in the manufacturing sector. In the past few decades, China's manufacturing sector had enjoyed boom times with low labor costs and a wide swathe of coastal ports to export goods abroad.

Nevertheless, the China miracle has led to surging workers' wages and companies feel tempted to transfer factories overseas, particularly to Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Africa. But that was before the advent of the AI Robotic Age.

More Chinese factories are utilizing robots with AI capabilities to perform key labor production modes. The benefits are enormous and we can expect the Boao Forum for Asia to discuss robots in more detail this year.

Whispers of hot trends

The BFA is at it's best when highlighting global business trends, which help companies operating in Asia find innovative ways to expand in the continent.

Asia has risen to prominence as one of the key drivers of economic growth worldwide. The Boao Forum offers an opportunity for government officials and senior executives in the region to gather for dialogue and perhaps conduct some deal-making on the sidelines.

To unlock doors to the future, you have to open up with dialogue to understand what people are thinking and recognize what big plans are underway. The Boao Forum for Asia serves as the platform to create synergy in the Asian business community and for the world.

  Tom McGregor, CCTV.com Panview Opinion page commentator and editor



(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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