By Xu Hao
Sponsored by China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and organized by China Report Press, the Chinese Enterprise Global Image Summit 2019 (CEGIS 2019) was held in Beijing on December 3. The summit received enthusiastic support from multiple government departments and organizations including the State Council Information Office (SCIO), State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), Sinopec Group, Bank of China and the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies (ACCWS).
In his speech at the opening ceremony of the Second China International Import Expo, President Xi Jinping noted that as global value and supply chains continue to develop, countries are becoming more interconnected with each other while integration of their economy is the order of the day. Responding to the trend, the theme of CEGIS 2019 was “Improving Chinese Enterprises’ Global Image in Higher-level Openingup.” The summit focused on building and improving the global image of Chinese enterprises as China pursues higher-level opening-up and aimed at establishing a supportive platform for Chinese enterprises to better perform on the global stage.
Weng Jieming, vice chairman of the SASAC, delivered a speech at the summit in which he stressed that enterprises and companies are important conduits for a country to go global in various aspects including economics, diplomacy and culture. State-owned enterprises (SOEs), especially centrally-administered- SOEs, must uphold three principles when operating global businesses. The first is to stand up for national interests and strive to present the country’s image. The second is to advance reform and innovation simultaneously so they can serve as the two wheels driving Chinese enterprises towards global competitiveness. The third principle is to innovate to better meet the current trends of world development to create a preferential environment for building the global image of Chinese enterprises. As SOEs face mounting pressure to build a global image, it becomes essential to explore the heart of the enterprises, seek more ways to illustrate their global images and unite more forces that are friendly to China and Chinese enterprises.
Li Zhaoqian, vice chairman of the ACFIC, used his speech to highlight the importance of private companies. Li pointed out that the global images of Chinese private companies are critical to not only their own development, but also in terms of projecting China’s image and influence. Improving the international images of private companies requires strong competitiveness, and guaranteeing high-quality products and services is a good first step. Such improvement requires technological innovation, increased brand value, improved management capacity and other fundamental forces within a company. Private companies should be proactive in going global and strive to become models for building good images globally.
Du Zhanyuan, president of CIPG, used his speech to explain what Chinese enterprises should do considering China’s pursuance of wider opening-up amid complicated global circumstances. On the topic of enhancing global image, Du proposed three suggestions for Chinese enterprises. First, be proactive in building global images. Chinese companies should outline their own stories of going global and share them with the world. Second, highlight innovation capacity. Chinese companies should seek more ways to build a global image as technologies begin transforming everything into data and presenting them more intelligently. Third, dig deep into the cultural value of brands. Chinese companies should produce more distinctive brands that become wellknown to the world, which requires enhancing brand management and cultural values.
Zhang Yanbin, director-general of the External Promotion Bureau of the SCIO, commented that Chinese companies are a critical force in globalization. Shouldering an important mission of facilitating cultural exchange and understanding, Chinese companies are becoming a channel for the world to know China. Therefore, Chinese companies should not only concentrate on their own operations, but also consider cultural values when going global. To improve their global image, Chinese companies should understand global development trends, shoulder social responsibilities, guarantee high quality, maintain a good reputation, enhance brand influence and share stories of going global.
After 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, Chinese companies have evolved into important players in global governance. Long Guoqiang, vice president of the Development Research Center of the State Council, believes that the global image of Chinese companies is essential not only for doing business, but also for improving the national image. Companies should pay more attention to contributing to the development of host countries. Hu Yu, a professor and official with Tsinghua University, noted that for Chinese companies to establish a good image, they must represent values of global significance with Chinese characteristics that highlight humanity.
To objectively measure foreign impressions of the image of Chinese companies, China Report Press, the ACCWS and Kantar China jointly released Chinese Enterprise Global Image Survey Report 2019 (Latin America Edition) at the summit. The report was read and explained by Yu Yunquan, director of the ACCWS. A list of Top 20 Chinese Companies with Good Global Image was also released and the winners awarded.
China Report Press and SASAC announced a list of companies to be featured in Stories of Chinese Enterprise Global Image 2019. The activity selected 10 best companies in terms of outstanding performance in fulfilling social responsibilities, exploring new public communications, conducting cultural integration and ensuring business localization. The stories of such enterprises will be compiled into a book documenting typical cases of enterprises going global.
First launched in 2013, the China Enterprise Global Image Summit has been held seven times and hosted the release of six Chinese Enterprise Global Image Survey Reports. Promoted through the summit, the Chinese Enterprise Global Image Alliance was established in 2015, and the Consultation Committee for International Communication of Chinese Enterprises was established in 2019 with an aim to improve the brand image and international influence of Chinese enterprises, build internationally competitive companies and magnify their positive influence on the industry.