This year, China successfully hosted four major diplomatic events attended by leaders from all over the world, making it a big year for the country in terms of its role on the global stage.

Boao Forum for Asia

Wider market access, a friendlier business environment, enhanced efforts to protect intellectual property rights, and an expansion of imports, are the four major new policies unveiled by the Chinese president at the Boao Forum for Asia in April.

“The investment environment is like air. And only fresh air attracts more investment from the outside. China relied mainly on providing favorable policies to foreign investors in the past. But now we will have to rely more on improving the investment environment,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony. 

Photo: Group Photo – Boao Forum, 2018

More specific measures include raising foreign equity caps in the banking, securities and insurance industries. The auto, ship and aircraft sectors are also set to open up.

Qingdao SCO Summit

The Qingdao Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in June was the first since India and Pakistan became full member states. The eight members now represent half of the world’s population, and a third of its landmass. President Xi announced a 30-billion yuan investment package for the SCO inter-bank consortium.

He said at the summit that “China will continue to promote the Belt and Road Initiative to deliver common wealth and prosperity to SCO member states.”

Photo: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, 2018 Qingdao, China

India, which has been skeptical about China’s Belt and Road Initiative, said it welcomed the SCO’s latest work on connectivity.

This year’s SCO summit came just ahead of June’s highly-anticipated Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore. The SCO also vowed to play a greater role in bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

In September, the Forum on China-Africa cooperation was held in Beijing. At the opening ceremony Xi said “China is the largest developing country in the world, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries,” and stressed that was the reason China and Africa should stand united.

To meet that end, he said China would provide support packages for Africa worth 60 billion U.S. dollars, including 15 billion dollars in free aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans.

Photo: China Africa Forum, 2018

He added both sides would work closely on what has been referred to as “eight major initiatives,” ranging from infrastructure to healthcare.

China International Import Expo

Finally, in November, the first China International Import Expo was held in Shanghai. Echoing his speech at the beginning of the year, Xi assured the world that China would keep its doors open. Like in his speech in Boao, Xi stressed the importance of broadening market access and increasing imports.

Meanwhile, Xi also had a special plan for Shanghai, including expanding the city’s pilot free trade zone; launching a science and technology innovation board at the Shanghai stock exchange, and introducing a registration system for listed companies.