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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 15:32, December 29, 2004
China, foreign countries embark on win-win cooperation
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"It's good news that Valentino, my favorite brand, will open its flagship store in Beijing next year, and I can keep in touch with the latest design right here in town," said Wang Xiaodong, a Chinese white collar working for a foreign-funded company in Beijing.

Lured by the surging consumer demand of the Chinese, more and more world-renowned brands, like L'oreal, Volkswagen, and P&G, have already established factories in China, forging advantageous supply chains in this "most potential" market.

Meanwhile, more and more statesmen believing in win-win strategy have turned their eyes to China.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 69 heads of state or governments of foreign countries have visited China so far this year, bringing large numbers of entrepreneurs to tap the vast Chinese market.

It is obvious that the foreign countries' attitude towards China's development has changed, from "fear" to "favor" in some sense, said Wang Gun-wu, former president of Hong Kong University.

This change echoed the prediction of former Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who two years ago called for efforts "to hitch a lift of China's development."

His remarks found the best possible proof in the Chinese-French Culture Year, which was jointly advocated by leaders of the two countries. Just as what French President Jacques Chirac had expected, the French Culture Year, opening this October in China with Jarre's concert in Beijing's Palace Museum and the Impressionistic Painting Show, really presents an aesthetic feast of "French romance" to the Chinese.

Other programs in the opening session of the French Culture Year, as the French had expected, helped to refresh the Chinese people's view on France with "a spirit of innovation."

Clara Gaymard, chairman of the Invest in France Agency, is more straightforward. He says the French government hopes the French Culture Year would create business opportunities for both France and China.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder also impressed the Chinese deeply, rushing from one place to another to "cheer up" German companies in Beijing during his visit to China early this month.

Within the half day on his arrival, Schroeder visited a China-Germany aircraft maintenance joint venture, and attended the opening ceremony of the branch office of a German company and the celebration for the new car plant of the Daimler-Chrysler in Beijing.

During Schroeder's stay in Beijing, the two countries signed 22 contracts in a single day.

Other foreign leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi also had a "fruitful" visit to China this year.

The frequent overseas visits by Chinese leaders also helped boost China's economic ties with other countries, said Professor Shen Jiru with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A total of 39 agreements on economic cooperation were signed when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited to the four Latin American countries of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cuba last month. The fields of cooperation cover trade, investment, aviation, tourism and education. Brazil, Argentina and Chile announced they recognized China's market economy status, and Chile initiated free trade negotiation with China.

When Premier Wen Jiabao attended the eighth summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China in Vientiane, Laos, also last month, which resulted in a major breakthrough in the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade area.

Observers agree that all these point to a fact that an increasing number of countries in the world have come to realize China's role in regional peace and stability and world economic growth.


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