China's annual landmark import fair is one of the busiest occasions for CEOs and presidents of foreign companies. The gathering of government officials, industry peers and experts offers them a rare opportunity for local and global engagement.
When asked to use three words to describe the Chinese market, "innovation" was the most popular choice.
"China is accelerating innovation dramatically, which is key for the health care sector. That's one reason that we were able to launch five new drugs within the past 12 months," said Julio Gay-ger, president of the China branch of U.S. leading pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company.
Gay-ger's other two choices were "access" and "commitment," as China keeps opening up its market by such means as expanding the national medical insurance reimbursement list, while the Chinese market enjoys and deserves long-term commitment by foreign firms. He cited the company's century-old bond with China.
When it comes to innovation, Martin Boden, president of Greater China for Sodexo, the French provider of quality of life services, is particularly impressed by China's advanced digital technologies. "I use WeChat on a daily basis, and now even my family in Britain use it," he said.
China is also a "strong" economy in Boden's view. The strength of the Chinese economy comes from its vast size, emerging middle class and "ambition" to create a better life for its people, according to him.
In the eyes of Antoine Grange, CEO of recycling and recovery with French environmental services firm SUEZ Asia, China is "huge" in market potential and "quick" in policy implementation.
China is "dedicated" to pursuing green growth, evidenced by its vibrant green sector and active participation in combating global climate change, Grange said.
"Opportunity" and "potential" are other common choices. Gu Chunyuan, president of Swiss industrial firm ABB Asia, Middle East and Africa region, said the country's reform and opening-up has created abundant business opportunities, while the Chinese market's rapid evolution and industrial upgrading have "inspired" foreign firms' innovation in technology and operation.
"To put it in a word, we have 'confidence' in China," Gu said.