China woos CEOs of Apple, chipmakers, pharma giants

China’s commerce minister met with prime world executives from know-how, finance and pharmaceutical industries forward of a high-profile enterprise discussion board in Beijing, in an try to spice up slowing foreign investment amid geopolitical tensions.

Wang Wentao’s conferences over two days included these with Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook dinner, and Kwak Noh-jung, chief govt officer of South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix. He additionally met the CEOs of Qualcomm Inc., the world’s greatest vendor of smartphone processors, and Micron Technology Inc., the biggest US maker of pc reminiscence chips.

Overseas companies’ direct funding into China final yr elevated by the bottom quantity for the reason that early Nineteen Nineties, underscoring Beijing’s challenges to spur its financial system. It additionally has to take care of a steadily accelerating outflow of producing as Apple and different American manufacturers start to place new capability in international locations from India to Southeast Asia to mitigate dangers from US-China tensions.

Wang is taking the chance forward of the China Development Forum, which begins Sunday, to satisfy with the leaders of key corporations. The annual occasion, begun in 2000, has been one of many few venues the place international enterprise chiefs might work together with China’s state leaders. Premier Li Qiang will ship a keynote speech this yr.

China is making an attempt to counter US restrictions on its entry to know-how. Wang mentioned cooperation on semiconductors with SK Hynix’s Kwak and stated he hopes the corporate will proceed to broaden funding in China. Kwak stated SK Hynix will hold pushing for better improvement in China, which is one among its most necessary manufacturing bases and markets, in line with the Chinese language Commerce Ministry.

SK Hynix is the world’s No. 2 reminiscence chip maker after Samsung Electronics Co., which can be from South Korea. US-China tensions, which embrace American restrictions on entry to sure key merchandise, imply the businesses must strike a delicate balance between the 2 international locations to take care of manufacturing and gross sales.

Learn extra: The $9 Billion Chip Plant Stuck in Limbo of US-China Rivalry

Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra told Wang the corporate plans to broaden funding in China, in line with a authorities assertion. The commerce minister instructed Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon that China welcomes hi-tech corporations to deepen funding in China.

Amon stated he seems ahead to China and US leaders creating steady expectations and an excellent enterprise atmosphere for corporations. Geopolitical tensions have additionally soured international companies on China, with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon saying earlier this yr that “the risk-reward has changed dramatically” within the nation.

Commerce tensions additionally heated up in latest months as Europe launched an investigation into Chinese language electrical automobile imports over state subsidies, and moved closer to imposing extra tariffs. China subsequently launched its personal anti-dumping investigation into brandy imported from the EU, a transfer seen as a retaliation towards France, which supported the electric-vehicle probe.

Prescription drugs, Banks

Wang held a roundtable with executives from abroad drugmakers together with Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. from the US, GSK Plc from the UK and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. from Japan on Saturday.

In a gathering with Jean Lemierre, chairman of French lender BNP Paribas SA, Wang stated China is keen to resolve commerce disputes with Europe and urged the financial institution to play a constructive position within the dialog. Lemierre stated the financial institution is keen to facilitate such conversations.

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to host Chinese language counterpart Xi Jinping in Paris within the spring. The European Union is contemplating a formal review of how extensively its companies use mature or lower-end chips from China, becoming a member of the US in flagging a possible threat to nationwide safety and world provide chains.

The US lately took extra steps to ringfence and curtail its rival’s artificial-intelligence and semiconductor ambitions. Wang instructed Apple’s Cook dinner after they met Friday that China is keen to work with the US to create a good, steady and predictable enterprise atmosphere for American and Chinese language corporations.

Apple’s Cook dinner stated his firm would invest further in utilized analysis in China.

“We are continuing to invest in China, in the supply chain, in R&D and in our stores,” Cook dinner stated in a video clip of the assembly.

— With help from John Liu and Yujing Liu