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World Economic Forum

Davos forum's founder plans Chinese summit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2007, 12:00am

A plan to hold an annual 'summer Davos' summit on the mainland reflects the 'changing power equation' in the global economy and China's growing influence on the world stage, says the founder of the World Economic Forum.

The northeastern city of Dalian is due to host the inaugural forum in September of the world's new generation of business leaders. It is designed to complement the annual meeting of the global elite in the Swiss town of Davos, said Klaus Schwab.

'The world's centre of gravity is shifting from west to east,' said Professor Schwab, who is chairman of the forum. 'Dalian will be a launching pad for a second community inside the global economic forum.'

Professor Schwab, who was in Beijing to shore up government support for the project, said he hoped the annual summit, which will take place in a different Chinese city each year, would achieve the 'same significance as Davos'.

Davos is famous for attracting the cream of global leaders and businessmen, who travel to the mountain resort every year to debate solutions to the world's most pressing social and economic problems - though the event is also criticised as a talk shop for global egos.

Professor Schwab said a new venue was needed to reflect the growing power of countries such as China and India, as well as newly emerging multinational companies from around the world.

He said participation at Davos was strictly limited to the executives of the world's top 1,000 companies, whereas the 'New Champions' forum in China would have room for representatives from 2,000, with about half coming from Asia.

He said the new summit was not in competition with the China-hosted Boao Forum for Asia, which will be attended next month by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates as well as leading politicians and business leaders from the region.

The new event would be an opportunity for China to burnish its credentials as a responsible stakeholder on the international stage, Professor Schwab said.

'In five years' time, I would hope to see China becoming a country more like every other country, playing a positive role in global governance and co-operation systems.'

The year's summit, for example, will bring together ministers in charge of environmental and energy policy, as well as pioneers of new energy technologies, to promote clean power generation in the face of climate change.