Government support cited as key reason for growth in the sector
Reassured by pledges of enhanced support by central government authorities, private Chinese companies displayed their increasing capabilities at the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
The expo "facilitates global channels for us in direct purchases", said Yu Ruifen, founder and CEO of the private retailer Shanghai Laiyifen Co. "Thus we can provide Chinese consumers with more authentic cuisine from around the world."
On Thursday, the retailer's subsidiary, Youngme, which exclusively offers imported foods, reached a 100-million-yuan ($14.4 billion) purchase option agreement with an Australian food company.
Yu said at the ceremony that the company's sound growth can be attributed to China's continued opening-up and its support of the private sector.
In early November, President Xi Jinping pledged at a meeting with private entrepreneurs to unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the nonpublic sector, and support private enterprises to move toward a bigger stage.
Encouraged by the pledge, a number of privately run businesses not only showcased their purchasing power at the expo but also took the platform as an opportunity to display their leading technologies and high-quality services.
Fosun International, the Shanghai-based private conglomerate, exhibited a surgical robot invented by its overseas affiliate. The system enables a surgeon to remotely control a robot arm by sitting at a console and examining three-dimensional images.
Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun, said China's favorable business measures will help solve the core problems that private businesses are currently encountering, and inject new vitality into the private economy.
Zhang Jindong, chairman of Suning Holdings Group, a leading Chinese retailer, said that as China's reform and opening-up policies advance, private companies will gain the confidence and capability to create more economic and social value, as well as to support the country's ongoing consumption and industrial upgrade.
During the expo, Suning plans to arrange for the import of at least 5,000 kinds of products and services that have not been sold in the domestic market.
Senior Chinese leaders have declared that the private sector has been an indispensable force driving the country's development over several decades. Private companies contributed 60 percent of GDP growth and 90 percent of new jobs and new firms, according to the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.
Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said: "The potential of the private economy will be further unleashed as Chinese consumer demand is upgraded. The government has spared no effort to set up a fair and transparent business environment."
Shi Jing contributed to this story.