China ‘Going Global’: Towards a New Era of Sustainable Investment Overseas

Sep 30, 2016

A discussion on future prospects of Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Overseas at UN Headquarters, New York

New York, 30 September -- Responding to the growing interest from the international community on the sustainable development of Chinese enterprises overseas, participants from governments and embassies, private sector, international organizations, academia, and civil society gathered together at the United Nations Headquarter in New York, to listen to China’s voice on their experience and challenges of sustainability while operating abroad, including lessons learnt and recommendations for the future.

In November 2015, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), China together with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC) under the Ministry of Commerce, and the Research Centre of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) successfully launched the 2015 Report on the Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Overseas, which systematically summarizes the Chinese government’s efforts, and highlights Chinese enterprises’ sustainable development practices overseas through the lenses of corporate governance and economic, environmental and social performance.

“Joining forces with the private sector is crucial to address today’s development challenges, especially poverty alleviation, and to unlock the tremendous potential of the markets at the bottom of the economic ladder and build a sustainable business of the future,” said Haoliang Xu, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Asia and the Pacific. “Profit-seeking incentives combined with sustainable development values and practices could generate greater benefits for the entire society and ensure longer-term development prospects for both Chinese businesses and the partner country communities.”

Being the 3rd largest outward investor in the world, China has gained increasing global prominence along with its rapid growing overseas investment and influence in development finance. Chinese companies are becoming ever more apparent in other countries, contributing not only to the domestic economy in China but also to the wider international community where they operate.

“At this new stage of implementing China’s Belt and Road Initiative, today’s event will better promote Chinese corporates, including companies from Guangdong, to become the new driving force for global economic development, to closely engage in international cooperation, and to inject fresh vitality into development of the world economy” emphasized Shen Haixiong, General Director of the International Cultural Communication Association of Guangdong Province.

Furthermore, with the adoption of United Nations’ new Sustainable Development agenda for 2030 committing to tackle the world’s biggest development challenges, private sector is now recognized as a vital part in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In addition, 2016 will be a crucial year for China’s recently announced “Belt and Road” initiative. It is predicted that China’s outward direct investment will hit a record high in 2016. On the one hand, both national and international priorities highlight global cooperation and have opened up unprecedented opportunities for Chinese enterprises to invest abroad; however, new commitments through, the “Belt and Road” initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank of the BRICS, and the Forum of China-Africa Co-operation, also require Chinese companies to become more strategic, efficient, competitive, and sustainable to achieve these goals.

During the panel discussion, participants from the private sector, academia, and civil society shared hands-on experiences and key challenges during their overseas operation, as well as future trends and further improvements needing to be made.

Based on success of the 2015 report, UNDP, CAITEC, and SASAC proudly announced continued cooperation with annual publication series, to strengthen Chinese enterprises’ capacity to engage in sustainable development practices, and to enhance their information disclosure to the wider community.

“The suggested theme for the 2016 Report is the Belt and Road Initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals, and ideally we will measure and guide Chinese enterprises’ roles in assisting the achievement of the Agenda 2030 by countries and regions along the Belt and the Road,” said Lu Yongzhen, Vice Chairman of the Research Centre of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. “This theme is especially timely considering that 2016 is the very first year of the implementation of both the Belt and Road Initiative and the SDGs, and is thus critical in identifying the baseline for future references and providing practical solutions and guideline for Chinese enterprises”.

In order to help Chinese enterprises in their quest of ‘going global’, UNDP stands ready to collaborate with all interested parties to enable dialogue, information-sharing, research cooperation and pilot projects, and contribute to achievement of the global goals.

To download the 2015 Report on the Sustainable Development of Chinese Enterprises Overseas, please click here>

Contact information

Ms. ZHANG Wei, Chief Communications Officer, UNDP China Tel: +8610 8532 0715, Email:

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