Dalian plays host to “Summer Davos”

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By Adam Livermore 

DALIAN, The port city of Dalian is set to play host to a large collection of power playersAug. 24 – Dalian is hosting a prestigious three-day meeting for fast-developing multinational companies beginning September 6. Entitled the “Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions” and informally dubbed the “Summer Davos” because of its perceived similarity to the Swiss summit held every winter. The event is attracting CEOs from companies all over the world.

Some of the participants are already well-established global powerhouses. Intel will be represented by their chairman, Craig R. Barrett, PWC by Global CEO Samuel DiPiazza Jr., Citibank by President William R. Rhodes, WPP by Group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and British Telecom by CEO Ben Verwaayen. However many of the participants will come from the major corporate powers in emerging countries, principal among them representatives from India and the Gulf states – nations that are rapidly increasing their levels of investment in China.

From India offshore software development giants Infosys and HCL Technologies are represented. Dubai Holding and Shamil Bank of Bahrain are a few of the major Gulf state players looking to develop further links through this conference. Of course there will also be a star-studded list of Chinese CEOs and the obligatory rafts of government ministers in attendance, headed by commerce minister Bo Xilai (coincidentally also previously Mayor of Dalian). In short, it may be the largest collection of powerbrokers ever to descend on a city in China.

Understandably, Dalian has been busy putting on its make-up in the last several weeks and right now the city is looking positively radiant. The local government has even developed a rather drastic measure to combat the increasingly common traffic jams that may otherwise delay the participants as they dash from conference centre to five-star hotel, taking a cue from Beijing and banning half of the cars from the city center everyday (odd numbered license plates one day, even the next).

This may indeed reduce the number of cars on the street, but it will be commuter hell for the rest of us as the bus system groans under the weight of extra passengers. We also assume that the delegates will be kept busy enough so that they will not be tempted to take a trip by taxi around Dalian as taxis will be in very short supply.

The local government has micromanaged every aspect of the preparation very efficiently so far, and we imagine the delegates will be similarly well-chaperoned during their late summer sojourn in Dalian.