China CEO Council Session Report -- The 19th Party Congress Aftermath: Where to from here?

Will General Secretary Xi Jinping’s second coronation represent a turning point for reform, and if so, what might the nature of that reform be? These and other pressing questions were discussed when The Conference Board China Center convened the senior-most in-country leaders from its member companies for its winter China CEO Council session on November 9, 2017.

Some key takeaways:

  • Xi Jinping will likely remain in power well past 2022. Finding alignment opportunities with his vision is now imperative, and in many ways easier now that the Communist Party’s vision for China is clear.
  • Alleviating poverty and protecting the environment are two areas where the leadership is likely to take positive notice of MNC efforts.
  • Reform as we have previously discussed it may be sidelined in deference to the two strong themes of Xi’s China Dream: national rejuvenation and its global initiatives, and the achievement of a moderately prosperous lifestyle for all Chinese.
  • Xi’s declaration of a “New Era” was one of many signs that the CCP under Xi Jinping is exhibiting extreme confidence, which is both a recognition of China’s nearly miraculous growth over the last three decades and China’s new-found global influence. It is also a clear tactic to take advantage of the strategic window offered by the perceived dysfunction in the West.
  • MNCs can expect more infrequent glimpses of the welcome mat that once was assured. This is, in many ways, a natural development as China becomes wealthier and stronger. But it requires a significant readjustment at global HQ, and it will be a challenge to communicate these shifts for those on the ground.

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