China is on track for more balanced and sustainable development despite lower growth, according to head of Swedish manufacturing giant Volvo Group.
“I am optimistic on the Chinese economy, especially in a longer-term perspective. There might be some economic consequences as growth rate goes down in the short term, but in the long run we can make the society much more resilient, sustainable and inclusive,” Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of Volvo Group, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 2017 China Development Forum (CDF).
This is the second time that Lundstedt has attended the annual CDF, and despite the pervasive pessimistic outlook on China's growth for 2016, he was still upbeat at the time.
“China is going through a transition, which is necessary because you cannot continue on the old path. But if you think about the history and the heritage of China in the long run, people will not remember the year 2016 but remember what bold actions China has taken to build the society for the future,” he said.
Lundstedt said that emerging business models and solutions that could survive in the long run would not only be economically beneficial, but also environmentally friendly, socially inclusive and long-sighted.
This is why Volvo has been promoting development of sustainable transport, which in Lundstedt's eyes, means transport that is developed with economic considerations going hand in hand with other important factors, including environmental protection and social development.
“While working on developing themselves via means like digitalization, transport infrastructure manufacturers also have to put themselves in the context of a lifecycle and make transformation throughout the whole value chain to move from product-based, inside-out-strategy-based companies to develop sustainable solutions, which will influence their long-term competitiveness,” Lundstedt said.
Lundstedt said that China was moving in the right direction with many transport innovations, not only technically, but also systems, such as the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to connect different continents to enjoy a better shared future.
Regional infrastructure development creates win-win outcomes for all participating countries, and improving transportation networks in the region will bring gains through increased market access, reduced trade costs and more efficient energy use and production, according to a white paper released by Volvo last year.
The Volvo Group has been in China for 25 years, and China has become its second “home market” after, Volvo's Global Headquarters, Sweden. It has already participated in projects along the Belt and Road such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“China's Belt and Road Initiative is very important for all the countries related, not only for short-term opportunities in project participation, but the real interest for all is the platform and future connections between countries along the initiative,” Lundstedt said.