The theme of the upcoming Davos meeting is 'The New Global Context'. One of the forces changing the global landscape is the shift in global economic power. What's your take on this trend and how’s this affecting China?
Cassie: The reshaping of the global economic order is unprecedented in its speed and scale. In short, the global economic landscape is evolving, especially the pivot towards Asia. The region is possibly the most dynamic economically in the world. Let's look at the numbers. The 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies together account for about 40% of the world's population, 55% of world GDP and 44% of world trade.
Driving most of the region's growth is China. Granted, it's not experiencing the blistering growth that it’s been used to for much of the last three decades. The Chinese leadership is well aware of the need to adjust to a 'new normal' of slower, but sustainable economic growth. President Xi Jinping alluded to as much in his speech at the recent APEC Summit held in Beijing in November. He says the country is weaning its economy from a dependence on exports and infrastructure and making domestic consumption and services the key growth engine.
China’s also banking on innovation for future growth. In addition, it’s modernising its archaic agriculture sector and upgrading its industrial industry. Its move toward a new normal is also being driven by social factors like an aging society and a decreasing rural workforce and the desire to improve its citizens' quality of life.
Also, Chinese investors are expected to be major global players, if they aren't already. Outbound investment is estimated to total US$1.25 trillion over the next 10 years.
The increasingly interconnected nature of the world means that China's ascendancy - economically and politically - will not only benefit China ,but also have a positive impact globally.
What do you value most about your time in Davos?
Cassie: I would say the insights gained. It's a very enriching experience. I learn a lot just by listening, interacting and exchanging ideas with fellow attendees. The forum gathers some of the best business, political and cultural minds in the world. Where else would you get such a good mix of people who are experts in their fields.
What's the one piece of advice you'd give to someone heading to Davos this January?
Cassie: Bring lots of warm clothing! And comfortable and practical shoes. There's a lot of walking involved in keeping with the Forum's mission to go green. So ladies, keep your high heels at home!