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Guangzhou: China's strongest link to the world, says Fortune Editor-in-Chief | Updated:2017-11-27


Alan Murray, Editor-in-Chief of Fortune magazine. [Photo/] 

In a recent exclusive interview with Nanfang Daily, Alan Murray, Fortune Editor-in-Chief, shared his thoughts on Guangzhou hosting the forthcoming Fortune Global Forum 2017, revealing his feeling about the city, its economy, its culture and its future.

Q: How many times have you been to Guangzhou and what has impressed you most about the city?

A: I've made two trips to Guangzhou, and love it for its bright modern spaces and parkland, its sparkling skyline, its friendliness, and of course its food. I particularly enjoyed dinner at the seafood market! I was also impressed by the many innovative young companies I learned about that are doing business there. It is now my second home!

Q: In past decades, Guangdong's economy has grown rapidly, as has the whole country. In your opinion, what role will it play in shaping China's economy?

A: Guangzhou and Guangdong have been a focus for China's trade with the rest of the world for centuries, and its Canton Fair remains the symbol for that interaction. That's why we are so happy to be hosting the Fortune Global Forum there.

Q: The theme of 2017 Fortune Global Forum is "Openness & Innovation: Shaping the Global Economy". Would you give some advice on how Guangzhou and Guangdong can seize this opportunity?

A: By encouraging foreign investment without strings attached and by nourishing innovative private companies, Guangzhou can become a model for the next phase of globalization.

Q: Premier Li Keqiang remarked on the planning of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in the Government Work Report. The Greater Bay Area includes nine cities in the Pearl River Delta region as well as Hong Kong and Macao. New York, San Francisco and Tokyo all benefit bay area economy, how can the Greater Bay Area become like them?

A: The Guangdong-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area is well on its way to joining New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. The key is to remain open, to protect intellectual property, and to celebrate private entrepreneurship.

Q: Promoting innovation-driven development through technology is necessary for Guangdong. Guangzhou is providing more services and favorable policies to promote high-tech industry.  If 10 is the top score, how much would you rate Guangzhou in terms of developing its high-tech industry? In your opinion, which specific areas in high-tech industry could Guangzhou enhance in the next five years?

A: I'd rather not give it a score. But Guangzhou is making impressive strides in areas like bioscience and also transportation. I enjoyed learning about the impressive strides being made by companies like eHang while I was there.

Q: PwC China and the China Development Research Foundation revealed their Chinese "Cities of Opportunity 2017" study report, in which Guangzhou had been named the most competitive city in China. In your opinion, what are the most competitive opportunities out there?

A: Guangzhou's history of openness is its greatest asset. It is China's strongest link to the rest of the world.

Q: Over 200 of the World's 500 Top Enterprises have invested in Guangzhou in the past decades. For instance, Cisco plans to build a Cisco Smart city in Guangzhou resulting in 100 billion yuan ($15.1 billion) of output. Foxconn will invest over 60 billion yuan to build a 10.5 generation 8K display factory. Will these top 500 companies have an impact on the development of Guangzhou and Guangdong?

A: Of course. The Fortune 500 believe in Guangzhou for its educated workforce, its livability, and its openness.

Q: What will the Fortune Global Forum bring to Guangzhou and Guangdong province?

A: Fortune will help further expose the city to the leaders of the largest companies in the world. It's a way for Guangzhou to say, "We are open for business".

Q: Besides the Fortune Global Forum, will Fortune magazine group consider other cooperations with Guangzhou in the near future?

A: We are launching Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Guangzhou, sponsored by Guangzhou Automobile Group for the next two years. We hope that will become a showcase for introducing Chinese innovations to the rest of the world, much as the Canton Fair showcases Chinese goods. We hope Fortune Brainstorm Tech will continue annually for many years to come.

The Fortune Global Forum 2017, a global event where senior officials from Fortune 500 enterprises, multinational corporations and government officials convene and talk about innovation, globalization and sustainable development, is due to be hosted in Guangdong capital of Guangzhou from Dec 6 to 8. 


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