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UPDATED: April 28, 2014
Searching for the Next Growth Frontier
By Zhang Fanruo

Columbia University's 7th Annual China Business Conference took place on April 25 in New York City. This year's conference explored the "the Search for the Next Growth Frontier" as China begins to pivot away from an investment-driven growth model in favor of new strategies. 

The introduction of a new policy regime as well as a changing global macro economy presents unique challenges and opportunities for continued growth for both domestic firms and multinationals seeking growth. 

Featuring keynote addresses, panel discussions and social events, this year's China Business Conference brought together a wide array of executives and leaders from industry, government and academia, exploring a spectrum of issues related to the macro-economy, private equity and venture capital, cross-border growth, capital markets as well as investment banking, consumer market, real estate, and entrepreneurship.

Michael Malone, Associate Dean of the MBA Program, Columbia Business School; Lei Cheng, Deputy Consul General of the People's Republic of China in New York; Pauline Brown, Chairman, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc.; Charles Ding, Corporate SVP, Chief Huawei Representative in the U.S. and William A. Owens, Chairman AEA Investors Asia, Vice Chairman NYSE Asia & CKGSB Advisory Board delivered the opening remarks and keynote speeches while over 30 guest speakers and panelists participated in the discussion and debated the challenges and opportunities emerging in the rapidly changing Chinese economy.

The conference tackled the subject from different angles, discussing questions such as: What macroeconomic policies would facilitate continued and sustainable GDP growth in China? What unique growth opportunities exist for private equity and venture capital investment? What strategies can multinational companies employ to grow in China? How can domestic Chinese firms expand globally? How can China's capital markets support such transactions? What opportunities and challenges are presented by China's own ambitious healthcare reform, which aims to provide universal coverage to a population four and half times greater than that of the U.S.?

With more and more Chinese companies start taking lead in innovative industry, William A. Owens said cooperation should lie ahead for U.S. companies rather than competition.

Owens believes that partnerships between the U.S. and Chinese companies bring benefits in the long term and effort could be taken at the policy making level to help improve and accelerate such cooperation. "China should educate the U.S. more about itself and the U.S. should be open to learn more about China."

First launched in 2009, the annual China Business Conference, sponsored by Columbia Business School and the Greater China Society, is the largest student-led conference among U.S. business schools exploring current issues pertinent to domestic and multinational firms with current or prospective operations in China.

(Reporting from New York City)


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