Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Corporate bigwigs gather for forum on China's potential

MEET AND GREET The executives will gladhand, listen to speeches and rub shoulders with Chinese officials at the `Fortune' magazine-sponsored event

AP AND BLOOMBERG , Beijing

Some of the world's top of business leaders will be in Beijing this week for a summit focused on the growth and potential of Asia -- especially China -- and the challenges the region faces.

The three-day Fortune Global Forum, hosted by New York-based Fortune magazine, begins Monday with a theme of China and the New Asian Century.

Organizers say more than 800 people will attend from 432 companies.

Speakers include General Motors Corp Chairman G. Richard Wagoner Jr., EBay Inc President Meg Whitman, Yahoo Inc Chairman Terry Semel, Time Warner Inc Chief Executive Richard Parsons and Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of Areva SA.

It's the biggest array of corporate executive to participate in a Fortune forum in China, said Robert Bierman, president of Fortune magazine's conference division. This is the third forum the magazine has held in China, after one was held in Hong Kong in 2001 and another in Shanghai in 1999.

Understanding China is key because it is taking on an "important and growing role" globally, said Bierman.

"The dialogue this year will very much be around how global corporations will deal with the fact that China is a continuing and growing story and the growing confidence that people have that this is will an important story for a long time to come," Bierman said at a news conference.

Topics will include understanding China's capital markets, Asia's automobile industry, protection of intellectual property rights, banking reform and environmental concerns.

More than 20 senior Chinese officials, including President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), also will attend this year's forum, which starts tomorrow and runs through May 18.

Hu will give the keynote address at the opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of China's legislature.

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