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President shows direction for business innovation

By Mike Bastin | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-09-10 14:14

In his keynote speech, Xi also lays out principles that are crucial to successful cooperation between emerging nations

The latest BRICS Summit has concluded in the picturesque, tranquil tourist town of Xiamen, the jewel of southeastern China's Fujian province, highlighted by President Xi Jinping's keynote speech and a strong message to the international business and investment community about openness, togetherness and fairness.

Xi should be widely applauded for bringing into dialogues at the summit the fast-emerging but still nascent market economies of Egypt, Tajikistan, Kenya, Mexico and Thailand. They are part of the next wave of emerging market economies, and their closer economic and political involvement with the BRICS nations can only prove mutually beneficial.

In his speech, Xi made it clear that the BRICS nations and, more important, their business and investment communities, are playing an ever important part in the world economy and that effective collaboration, cooperation and partnership with full market economies is essential for sustainable growth where emerging markets are concerned.

Most telling of all were Xi's comments on the need for a business culture of innovation, cooperation and entrepreneurship. He singled out Xiamen Airlines, a perfect symbol of a more modern business culture sweeping across the Chinese mainland.

Sticking to a business and trade theme, Xi also highlighted the significant number of summit participants this time from the international business and investment community. More than 1,200 business representatives attended the summit and engaged fully in debate and dialogue throughout.

Furthermore, Xi said about 80 Fortune 500 companies had sent senior representatives to the summit, a far larger number than to any previous BRICS summit. He also referred briefly to the pivotal role now played by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the number of investment projects already underway and the multitude of countries and their companies participating in and benefiting from the projects.

In his speech, President Xi also made good use of the host city, Xiamen, to further spotlight business modernization and innovation. Xi reminded all that the beautiful city of Xiamen was, and still is, at the forefront of China's miraculous economic emergence and path toward full market economy status.

Xiamen was one of the original special economic zones, and in his speech, Xi rightly referred to the Fujian province city as a symbol of modernization that still displays traditional Chinese cultural elements and has also become a holiday destination high on the list of international tourists.

Xi's speech also laid the foundation for more support for other emerging nations, not just the BRICS economies. Xi made it clear that other, often much smaller, emerging nations can benefit immensely from China's experience and follow a similar path, under China's guidance.

The essence of his speech and the relevance to the international business community can be summed up by the three principles laid out as the basis for further BRICS cooperation and collaboration: First, Xi emphasized the importance of the values of equality and togetherness, in which no country assumes a superior position. This is also a key lesson for successful business partnerships, especially where cross-cultural alliances and joint ventures are concerned.

Second, Xi put forward a results-oriented and innovative approach, something that also lies at the heart of any modern international business success.

Third, and perhaps most important of all, Xi reiterated the values of helpfulness and generosity. It behooves the international business community to adopt these values, too, where ethical and environmental friendliness are increasingly part of any successful business venture.

It is these three principles that should inspire the international business community, especially nascent industries in other emerging economies.

President Xi not only highlighted China's approach with these three principles, which are all very close derivatives of traditional Chinese cultural values, but also sent a clear signal around the world.

More generally, but just as important, the tone in which Xi delivered his keynote speech bore all of the hallmarks of the typical Chinese approach to the world - one of respect, deference and humility. It now behooves other emerging market economies, as well as the most advanced economies, to adopt similar values and to infuse their business and investment communities in a like manner.

The author is a visiting professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing and a senior lecturer at Southampton University. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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