回到非洲(二) / Back to Africa (Part Two)

印有博主姓名(高德思)的挂牌 / Tom Gorman name badge

回到非洲(二)

召开全球论坛之类的高级会议的真正目的是什么?我认为答案多种多样:教育及告知与会者;激发舆论领袖间的对话;搭建企业高管、政府官员及非政府组织领导人之间的沟通平台;推广某一国家的贸易、投资、文化、体育及软实力影响;提供极为特定的赞助商广告投放环境;为主办方创收并在活动中树立品牌形象,凡此种种,不一而足。

如果上述全部因素能有机地结合起来,并在正确的时机得到正确的实施,其结果将会不同凡响,甚至还可能创造一些奇迹。随之发生的就是在相当短的一段时间内,一批具有相当影响力的人对某些重大问题的认识将会得到改善。无论是改变重要人物对重大问题的看法,或在事实上对舆论领袖产生启发,其中的价值都难以估量。

根据我个人的经验和与其他代表的交流,我认为在开普敦举办的全球论坛改变了很多人对非洲的现状以及未来前景的看法。

参与此次论坛演讲和讨论的人包括南非总统雅各布•祖马(从多伦多G20峰会现场通过卫星直播参与)、美国前总统比尔•克林顿、开普敦大主教图图、纳尔逊•曼德拉的夫人格拉萨•马谢尔、非洲企业家兼社会活动易卜拉欣和西里尔•拉马弗萨、爱尔兰前总统、欧盟人权委员玛丽•罗宾逊、欧盟气候委员康妮•海德格尔德、美国职业篮球联赛全球大使迪坎贝•穆托姆博、“体育改变社会计划”的欧玛•奥巴马(她也是美国总统奥巴马的姐姐),以及来自非洲和国际上的其他社会与环境方面的领袖。他们的出席使这次会议的意义远远超出了商业会议。

事实上,这次会议的主旨就是要探讨作为企业获取成功和创造利润的经营策略之一——非洲企业和跨国企业将要和可能采取哪些行动,来承担起企业的社会责任。

在本次会议的议程中,多次涉及到了中非贸易和投资的问题。鉴于话题的重要性和即时性,这倒不难理解。然而,令人感到惊讶和意外的是,在多个与中国毫无关联的课题分组讨论和问答过程中,针对中国的问题和评论频繁出现。这反映出在过去几年里,中国市场的重要性在全球商业领袖的眼中发生了翻天覆地的变化,也体现出了中国在非洲的贸易和投资近年来出现的一些问题。

从另一个角度来看,此次论坛也是迄今为止中国的CEO们到大中华区以外地区出席全球论坛人数最多的一次,20多位中国媒体记者和代表也参加了会议。

Back To Africa (Part Two)

What’s really the purpose of a high-level conference like the Global Forum? I think it has various objectives: to educate and inform. participants; to stimulate dialogue among opinion leaders; to create a networking platform. for top corporate management, government officials, and NGO leaders; to promote a country’s trade and investment as well as cultural, sport and soft power interests; to provide a highly targeted environment for sponsors to advertise within; to make a profit for the organizer and build their brand image in the process, and so on.

When all of the above elements are combined and executed in just the right way, and the timing is right, the result is something out of the ordinary and even a bit magical. What then happens is that within a fairly short period of time, the way a group of very influential people think about something important is changed for the better. It is very hard to put a value on changing important people’s minds on important issues, or, in effect, enlightening a group of opinion leaders.

Based on my own experience and from talking with other delegates, I think the Global Forum in Cape Town changed a lot of minds about Africa’s current reality and future potential.

With speakers and panelists like South African President Jacob Zuma (via satellite from the G20 meeting in Toronto), former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel, African business and civil society entrepreneurs Mo Ibrahim and Cyril Ramaphosa, former President of Ireland and E.U. Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, E.U. Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, NBA Global Ambassador Dkembe Mutombo, Auma Obama of Sports for Change Social Initiative (who is also U.S. President Obama’s sister), and a host of other African and international leaders from the social and environmental sectors, the meeting was about much more than just business.

In fact a dominant theme throughout the program was what African and international businesses are doing and can do in Africa in terms of social responsibility as an integral part of successful and profitable business strategies.

China-Africa trade and investment commanded several spots in the program agenda, which is understandable given the importance and timeliness of the topic. What was striking and unexpected, however, was the degree to which questions and comments about China repeatedly surfaced in panel discussions and Q-and-A sessions on a whole variety of non-China specific topics. This reflects the sea change in the importance of the China market in the eyes of global business leaders which has occurred during the past few years, as well as some of the issues which China’s trade and investment in Africa in recent years has given rise to.

The other side of that coin was the presence of the largest delegation of Chinese CEOs to ever attend a Global Forum outside of Greater China, as well as a group of more than 20 journalists and representatives from Chinese media.

 

中国2020圆桌会议封面扫描件 / The cover scan of China 2020 Roundtable Discussion

全球论坛的中国圆桌会议将中国优秀企业的CEO和他们的国际及非洲同行汇聚一堂,在簇拥的人群面前展开了热烈的小组讨论。这其中包括中国移动通信集团董事长王建宙、泰康人寿保险公司董事长兼首席执行官陈东升、上海电气集团董事长兼首席执行官徐建国、阿斯利康公司首席执行官大卫•布伦南、《财富》杂志亚洲编辑兼中国分社社长比尔•鲍威尔、中国成都市委宣传部部长何华章、凯斯博投资管理有限公司执行合伙人郑方。

中国移动通信集团董事长王建宙向与会者公布的一组中国移动的数字引起了人们的极大兴趣,首先是他们的移动用户已达到5.5亿,而且仍在以每月500万人的速度增长,其中增长最快的(占新用户数60%的)是农村地区用户。由于中国大城市的移动电话普及率已高达120%,中国移动(目前在财富500强中排名第99位)正致力于开发新业务,包括拓展农村用户、数据业务和信息业务。收购上海商业银行20%的股份也清楚表明中国移动对未来网上银行的重要性满怀信心——这一话题在全球论坛关于非洲移动未来的后续讨论中也引起了极大的重视。

泰康人寿董事长兼首席执行官陈东升不仅对公司成长为中国金融服务领域巨头(尤其是作为一家非国有企业)的历程进行了详细的描述,还深刻分析了中国中小企业所面临的机遇和挑战。他在1996年创立泰康公司,最初只有几十名雇员。自2000年至今,公司收入已增长了20倍,雇员更是达到目前的25,000人。同样,他也十分重视中国农村地区的金融服务发展,指出中国城市消费者的梦想是“有车、有房、有人寿保险”,而农村消费者的梦想则是“有摩托、有手机、有人寿保险”。他认为,中小企业及非国有企业的总体成长和发展是中国应对失业问题的关键。

上海电气集团董事长徐建国讲述了集团管理100余家控股和非控股合资企业的经验。

阿斯利康公司首席执行官大卫.•布伦南谈到公司在中国从500人发展壮大到4,000人用了8年的时间,近年来公司在中国的收入也保持着37%-38%的年增长率。他们还在中国设立了研发中心,并发展在华工厂对其他亚洲国家的出口业务。

成都的何部长介绍了2009年四川GDP增长率为15%,与中国西部GDP平均13.5%的增长率相比,四川已成为全国经济增长最快的地区,而且也是未来投资和发展的重点。

泰康公司的陈东升对此也有同感,他补充说在未来10到20年间,中国西部仍将处于工业化和城市化的进程当中,还将表现出中国东部在改革开放时期的发展特征。而目前,中国的东部地区已进入一个全新的经济发展阶段,这种双轨制的发展必将确保中国经济在整个发展过程中继续保持健康与活力。

(未完待续)

The Global Forum’s China Roundtable brought leading Chinese CEOs together with their global and African counterparts, featuring a lively panel discussion before a standing-room only crowd, which included Chairman Wang Jianzhou of China Mobile, Taikang Life Insurance Chairman and CEO Chen Dongsheng, Shanghai Electric Group Chairman and CEO Xu Jianguo, Astra Zeneca PLC CEO David Brennan, FORTUNE Asia Editor and China Bureau Chief Bill Powell, Minister of the Publicity Department of the Chengdu Municipal Committee He Huazhang, and Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Keywise Capital Zheng Fang.

China Mobile Chairman Wang dazzled participants with China Mobile’s numbers, starting with their mobile subscriber base of 550 million, growing at about 5 million per month, with the fastest growing segment (60% of new subscribers) being from rural China. With mobile phone penetration rates in major Chinese cities as high as 120%, China Mobile (currently #99 on the FORTUNE Global 500 list) is focused on growing new business, including rural subscribers, data and information business. Their acquisition of a 20% stake in Shanghai Commercial Bank is a clear signal of confidence in the future importance of online banking — a subject which was to figure prominently in later discussions during the Global Forum in the context of Africa’s mobile future.

Taikang Insurance Chairman and CEO Chen provided very insightful comments not only on the growth story of his Taikang into a very significant player in China’s financial services sector (especially noteworthy as a non-State-owned enterprise); but also of the opportunities and challenges facing China’s small and medium-sized enterprises. He founded Taikang in 1996, starting with several dozen employees. Its revenues have increased 20-fold since 2000, and employees now number 25,000. He too places great priority on the growth of China’s rural sector for financial services, commenting that the urban Chinese consumer’s dream is now to own “a car, a home, and life insurance” while the rural consumer’s dream is to own “a motorcycle, a mobile phone and life insurance.” His view is that the growth and development of the small and medium-sized company sector, and the non-SOE sector in general, are key to addressing China’s unemployment issues.

Shanghai Electric Group’s Xu spoke about his group’s experience in managing more than 100 joint ventures with international companies, including some with majority ownership stakes and others without.

Astra Zeneca’s Brennan told of his company’s growth in China from 500 employees to 4,000 in roughly 8 years, with China revenues growing in the 37-38% per year range in recent years; and of their establishment of an R&D facility in China as well as developing exports from their China manufacturing plants to other Asian markets.

Chengdu’s Minister He spoke of Sichuan Province’s 15% GDP growth in 2009 and of the average GDP growth of 13.5% in western China, making it the fastest growing economic region in the country and increasingly the focal point for further investment and development.

This observation was echoed by Taikang’s Chen, who added that in the 10-20 year time span, western China would still be engaged in the phase of industrialization and urbanization which characterized eastern China’s development during the economic reform. and opening era, whereas eastern China would enter a new phase of economic development; and that the dual-track progress would ensure the health and vitality of China’s economy throughout the period.

(To be continued…)


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