Firms gain growth from entry

Updated: 2011-12-12 07:27

By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) has greatly benefited and propelled Chinese and overseas enterprises, executives from international companies said on Sunday at a high-level forum in Beijing commemorating the 10th anniversary of China's accession to the WTO.

China has grown to become the world's second-largest economy and commodity importer and the largest commodity exporter.

"In the past decade after China's entry into the WTO, the move has brought benefits for the country's people and the rest of the world," President Hu Jintao said at the forum.

Lenovo Group Ltd, the largest Chinese personal computer (PC) maker and the second-largest globally, was one of the first Chinese companies to enter the global market and compete with overseas brands.

Founder Liu Chuanzhi admits that China's entry into the WTO accelerated Lenovo's internationalization.

Liu set up Lenovo in 1984 with a team of 10 scientists and initial funding of 200,000 yuan ($31,489) in Beijing.

In 2004, Liu and his team led one of the boldest moves in corporate history with the acquisition of IBM Corp's PC division.

Nobody was optimistic about the merger, Liu said, adding that many people described his action as "a snake hoping to eat an elephant".

To transform Lenovo into a global company, the purchase was a step that had to be taken, Liu said.

"After Lenovo purchased IBM's PC division, our sales revenue surged from $2.9 billion before the merger to $21.6 billion last year, with a 13.7 percent share of the global PC market," he said.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, president and CEO of Schneider Electric SA, expressed his confidence in China's future and also agreed that China's accession to the WTO was an "impressive achievement".

The Germany-based company first came to China in 1987. It initially set up sales offices, followed by factories and ultimately research and development centers for the local and international markets.

"We are a direct beneficiary of China's WTO accession. Today, we have more employees in China than in the US or in France. We have decided to base one-third of our executive committee in China," said Tricoire.

"Chinese companies welcome overseas enterprises to compete in the Chinese market, and we also hope that more countries open their markets to China for fair competition," Liu said.