June 18, 2024

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US business elite welcomes Xi Jinping with standing ovation

2 min read

At a San Francisco hotel on Wednesday evening, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a message to US business that got a standing ovation: China is a big market and a friend.

Crowding into the Hyatt Regency to meet the Chinese leader were Elon Musk of Tesla, Tim Cook of Apple and Albert Bourla of Pfizer, all keen on selling more electric cars, iPhones and pharmaceuticals in the world’s second-biggest economy.

After a day spent in long-awaited talks with US president Joe Biden, Xi told an audience of about 300 people: “China is both a super large economy and a super large market . . . modernisation for 1.4bn Chinese is a huge opportunity that China provides to the world.”

“The world needs China and the US to work together for a better future,” he added. “China is ready to be a partner and friend of the US.”

The warm feelings appeared mutual. “If you go through the list of the top 20 US companies in China, they were all there,” said one San Francisco tech titan who attended the event but did not want his name to be published. On his way into the Hyatt, Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio told the Financial Times he was “excited to have this relationship [with Xi]”.

But while Xi made an effort to express his country’s open welcome to US business, a combination of whipsawing tensions with Washington, a rocky economic recovery from the pandemic and Beijing’s increasingly assertive domestic security apparatus has damped enthusiasm among American investors for making big bets on China.

Joe Biden, right, and Xi Jinping
US President Joe Biden, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at the Filoli estate outside San Francisco, California, on Wednesday © Doug Mills/The New York Times/AP

A series of US companies have begun packing up their bags or rerouting supply chains out of fear that geopolitical tensions could disrupt business. Technology groups such as Airbnb and Linkedin have retreated from the country, as have consulting firms Gallup and Forrester Research. Even Apple,…

2023-11-16 01:52:24

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