Collaboration and Adaptability Highlighted as Key Growth Drivers of China-ASEAN Relations at CGS China-ASEAN Business Leaders Summit


The inaugural CGS China-ASEAN Business Leaders Summit, hosted by China Galaxy Securities (CGS) in partnership with Business ChinaChina Enterprises Association (Singapore), and CIMB, concluded on 10 March 2023.

The two-day conference was attended by close to 1,000 participants and speakers, including representatives from over 450 governments and businesses across 20 countries. Thought leaders from leading corporates and policy makers of Asia Pacific’s financial services industry shared insights on hot-button topics such as the China-ASEAN investment outlook, Asia’s manufacturing landscape, decarbonisation and green financing, as well as Shariah and SRI opportunities, empowering attendees to better leverage business opportunities in the region.

Collaboration and adaptability emerged as critical factors essential to driving success and growth in Asia Pacific’s financial sector. Speakers emphasised the extensive complementary advantages that China and ASEAN member states can leverage by deepening cooperation for industries like advanced manufacturing and decarbonisation. While China’s reopening and the continued growth of the ASEAN region present considerable potential, the ability to adapt swiftly to changing global and regional market conditions will be essential for long term success.

The event was graced by guests of honour H.E. Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, ASEAN Secretary General, and Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry (Malaysia). Speakers included luminaries such as Mr. Chen Liang, Chairman, China Galaxy Securities Co., Ltd, Dr. Qi Bin, Executive Vice President, China Investment Corporation (CIC), and Ms. Qiu Aijun, Deputy Director General of International Cooperation Center, National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China.

Mr. Chen Liang discussed how the deepening of the Belt and Road initiative, the enhancement of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, the accelerated construction of the China-ASEAN Information Harbour, and the continued release of policy dividends from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), are all anticipated to usher in more opportunities and business potential for China-ASEAN economic growth and trade. He stated that ongoing technological and industrial transformations present new opportunities for both regions to collaborate in emerging sectors such as advanced manufacturing, new energy, digital economy, e-commerce, and smart cities. This is likely to result in greater integration of industrial, supply, and value chains, increasing enterprise demand for cross-border investment and financing.

H.E. Dr. Kao highlighted strong trade connections between ASEAN and China, stating that agreements such as the ASEAN-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership remain the main driving force for mutual trade and investment between the two regions. ASEAN and China are also deepening collaborations to boost ASEAN capabilities in areas such as smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, and sustainability, all of which collectively provide the foundation for digital growth opportunities.

Tengku Zafrul Aziz spoke of how ASEAN-China economic ties represent a key driver of growth for Asia, stating that the easing of pandemic measures will further serve to strengthen this relationship, as well as future cooperation. With China being ASEAN’s largest trading partner and one of Malaysia’s largest foreign investors, he expressed Malaysia’s readiness to support China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) with a skilled and multilingual talent pool to drive greater regional growth.

Dr. Qi Bin shared insights on how China’s economy is rapidly recovering from the impact of the epidemic. China’s strong industrial foundation and large consumer base have helped to establish itself as an ideal choice, not only for manufacturing, but also as a highly attractive market for global businesses. Dr. Qi highlighted the long history of cooperation between China and ASEAN, who are now each other’s largest trading partners. Geographical proximity and cultural similarities make ASEAN a preferred choice for Chinese companies to expand overseas, leveraging ASEAN’s large population.

Ms. Qiu Aijun spoke about how China is looking to deepen support for ASEAN through increased technological cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative. Remaining open to future possibilities and staying innovative is key to promoting trade between China and ASEAN; this will culminate in the seamless exchange of talent, products, and technological knowledge. During this process, Ms. Qiu expects SMEs to continue to play an important role, becoming essential players within China and beyond.

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