China's Xi Jinping Meets American CEOs to Woo Back Foreign Investors, Mend Strained Relations With US

By Giuliano De Leon

Mar 27, 2024 10:10 AM EDT

China's President Xi Jinping met with more than a dozen American CEOs and academics on Wednesday in an effort to woo back foreign investors and mend strained relations with the US.

Around 100 foreign CEOs, over 30 of whom were US executives, were in Beijing this week for the annual China Development Forum that ended on Monday.

The group of CEOs included Evan Greenberg of Chubb, Raj Subramaniam of FedEx, Cristiano Amon of Qualcomm, and Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group. 

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, one of the members of new seven-seat Politburo Standing Committee, greets the media at the Great Hall of the People on November 15, 2012 in Beijing, China.
(Photo : Feng Li/Getty Images)

China's President Xi Jinping Sends Last-Minute Meeting Invite To American CEOs

According to the Financial Times, China's President Xi Jinping met the group of some 20 US business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 

A readout of the meeting published by the foreign ministry said Xi urged American businesses to "continue to invest in China" as its economy has not yet "peaked" and its growth prospects remain "bright," CNN reported. 

Xi, who vowed more reforms to open the country's markets to foreign firms, told the American CEOs that China's development, despite various challenges and difficulties, "has not collapsed... in the past, nor will it 'peak' now." 

The Chinese leader called for "a better future" between China and the US and said that bilateral relations have improved since meeting with US President Joe Biden in San Francisco in November. 

Read Also: US Is Considering Slapping Sanctions on Chinese Companies Helping Russia Fuel Its War in Ukraine

China's Second-Ranked Leader Did Not Meet American CEOs

The meeting with Xi Jinping follows Chinese Premier Li Qiang not meeting the foreign CEOs at Beijing's flagship annual business conference.

The FT reported that business executives have traditionally met with China's second-ranked leader after the China Development Forum. However, that did not happen this year, as Li did not hold a briefing at the end of the forum but spoke at the event's opening.

In previous years, the chance to exchange views with China's second-ranking leader had become an important element of the summit. Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the meeting was a follow-up to Xi's November dinner with US investors in San Francisco.

Xi reportedly told American business leaders in San Francisco that China is ready to partner and be a friend of the US, adding that there was plenty of room for cooperation.

China, the world's second-largest economy, is experiencing many problems, including deflation, debt, a decreasing population, and a shift in economic policy towards ideological goals that worried foreign investors.

However, Reuters reported that Chinese officials who spoke at the forum's opening expressed confidence that China would hit its economic targets, including growth of around 5% this year. 

Read More: US, China Risk a 'New Cold War' as Economic and Trade Conflicts Escalate, IMF Official Warns

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