The next 20 years for China's private sector can be summarized in one word: expansion, especially as many homegrown enterprises look overseas for new markets. These private businesses were the center of attention at the fourth Hurun Rich List Summit and 12th anniversary of the release of the rich list in Beijing on October 29 where China's richest businesspeople and economic experts gathered to discuss the prospects of China's private economy in the next two decades.
At the summit, Beijing Review sat down with Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and compiler of the Hurun Rich List, for an exclusive interview on the private sector's drive to expand abroad.
Hoogewerf said that it was only natural for Chinese private businesses to look overseas for markets, since many would be the largest entities in word markets and many are already world leaders in particular sectors. He cited Li Shufu from Geely Group who acquired the Volvo brand on August 2, 2010 as a successful story of a Chinese company entering a foreign market.
These expansions, however, haven't been without difficulties. As China's private enterprises branch out, they must first be aware of some countries' restrictions on the investment environment.
But one of the biggest challenges may come from managing foreign businesses. Chinese managers must find new ways to supervise foreign employees since Chinese management styles may not translate well, or provide a comfortable work environment for international employees. Training methods are already being adapted for managers with foreign staffs, and Hoogewerf expected major breakthroughs to follow in the coming years.
Hoogewerf pointed out the necessity for Chinese private companies to follow the low-carbon economy trend. The low-carbon economy is a social responsibility for everyone, and is being widely embraced by countries worldwide, he said.
Many private enterprises are making more environmentally friendly products to maintain a competitive edge as customers' demands for such products increase. And, generally speaking Hoogewerf said, this trend is progressing much quicker than people think.