Editor's Note: The China International Import Expo draws global corporate giants, world trade leaders and up-and-coming stars in business and commerce. As the expo launched its fifth edition this year, China Daily spoke to senior executives of multinational corporations who have participated in the event for five straight years, presenting their views on the CIIE's role in boosting global economic recovery from COVID-19.

Q1: For the fifth straight year, your company has just participated in the annual CIIE. Why is the event so important to you? What were your expectations this year?

Q2: Is there any added significance to the CIIE in the context of the downward pressures on the global economy brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and its softening effect on global demand?

Q3: China has been striving to increase imports to support manufacturers and producers in other economies. The country has also continuously opened its markets and economy to foreign investors and foreign companies. Overall, what do you think are China's contributions to the world?

Q4: Your company operates in a specific industry. What prospects does that industry currently have in China? And what's the biggest opportunity for your company as the country pursues high-quality development?

Q5: What's your view on China's current level of opening-up? How can high-standard opening-up be made even more effective in the future?

Leon Wang, executive vice-president of AstraZeneca and president of AstraZeneca China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

A1 Over the past five years, AstraZeneca has evolved from a newcomer to a regular at the CIIE, and we have experienced the strong spillover effects of the event. Participating allows us to summarize our phased results in China and open a new chapter of cooperation. At this year's CIIE, AstraZeneca once again set up one of the largest booths in the medical devices and healthcare section to demonstrate our growth in essential therapeutic areas and introduce high-quality innovative products and holistic disease management solutions.

A2 At the CIIE, both this year and in past years, we always hear a "global chorus". It is a place where multinational enterprises can expand their circle of friends and build an ecosystem. Smaller enterprises can also embed themselves in global value chains for new development opportunities. The CIIE has brought huge benefits for these enterprises, whose growths are key indicators of global economic recovery.

The CIIE is a positive signal that China is giving itself and its trading partners in the international community greater confidence, which is crucial in times of economic downturn.

A3 The spillover effect of the CIIE has been amplified, offering opportunities for foreign companies to deeply explore the Chinese market and share its development dividends. More and more foreign exhibitors have planted roots in China, with more exhibits turning into commodities and exhibitors turning into investors.

As a multinational pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca is one of the beneficiaries of China's growth and opening-up. We will respond to the call for openness and cooperation, and leverage the increasingly enhanced business environment in China to innovate with our partners and benefit patients both in China and around the world.

A4 We believe that China's healthcare industry is still at a stage of fast growth and boasts great opportunities, though not without challenges. In recent years, as the Chinese government and the public attach greater importance to health with economic development, a lot of supportive policies and clearer guidance and regulations have been introduced. High-quality development is one of the priorities set for China's healthcare industry. In that respect, AstraZeneca sees great opportunity in accelerating innovation through cooperation.

A5 Over the past 40 years, China has successfully pursued promoting development through reform and opening-up, staging sustained long-term high-speed economic growth. We are confident in the Chinese market and will continue to share China's development opportunities through expanding operations in the country and working with China to drive the world economy forward.

Bian Xin, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

A1 In the past five years, the CIIE has become a very important stage for the debut of global innovative products and cutting-edge technologies, and it has also built an excellent platform for communications and exchanges between the government and enterprises, and between enterprises.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China just closed. We believe the opening of the fifth CIIE at this point fully demonstrates the country's commitment to achieving high-quality economic development and its new strides in reform and opening-up.

We believe that the convening of the CIIE will provide more "Chinese opportunities" for the rest of the world. Roche is encouraged, with stronger confidence in and commitment to the Chinese market.

A2 It's a great honor for Roche to attend the CIIE for five consecutive years. With one of the largest booth areas in the medical and healthcare pavilion, Roche highlights a full portfolio of launched and market-ready products at its 1,000-square-meter booth, including nearly 10 global innovative products that will soon be launched in China, covering major disease areas such as hematological tumors, breast cancer, ophthalmology and neuroscience.

At the expo, Roche holistically showcases multiple innovative projects and solutions. We hope to leverage the CIIE as a bridge to align with the Chinese government and partners in enhancing exchange and collaboration, seeking synergies in resources to foster industry development, and jointly building, creating and sharing the healthcare ecosystem in China.

A3 In recent years, we have seen that China has further deepened reform, which has unleashed more market vitality and economic resilience. Recently, a series of policies have been introduced to help increase, stabilize and improve the quality of foreign investment. We firmly believe that these positive measures will further boost our confidence in continuing to deepen our business in China, increase our business in China and invest in China.

A4 China has become the world's second-largest pharmaceutical market. Global companies like Roche have benefited from the country's opening-up and economic reform, which has led to a favorable business environment and easier market access.

In the healthcare sector, we have seen significant improvements in policies and measures to accelerate the regulatory approval and affordability of innovative drugs in recent years, to promote the transformation and upgrading of the industry and the high-quality development of the economy and society. We are also heartened to see that the government places a strategic priority on ensuring people's health and improving policies for promoting public health, which shows the government's commitment to elevating the health and well-being of the Chinese people.

Christine Zhou, senior vice-president of Novo Nordisk and president of Novo Nordisk China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

A1 The CIIE represents an opportunity for companies to foster and enhance key partnerships. It also offers a unique communication platform, where we can help build public awareness and education about diabetes as well as other serious chronic diseases.

During the past five years, we have invested in China four times to further deepen our presence across the full value chain. We showcased 18 innovative medicines and 10 injection devices at the expo. We hope to leverage the CIIE to further enhance public awareness of diseases to improve health awareness and disease management skills. We look forward to sharing our latest innovations and R&D focuses across different disease areas including diabetes, obesity, hemophilia and growth disorders.

A2 Despite the uncertainties in the global economy and the impact of COVID-19, the fifth CIIE has been held as scheduled. Serving as a window to the Chinese market, the CIIE demonstrates China's commitment to expanding and promoting inclusive development.

A3 The Chinese economy has maintained positive growth despite the pandemic's impact. We believe China will continue to be a strong economy in the world, and provide sustainable development opportunities across industries.

A4 The Chinese government has elevated people's health as a national development strategy. It has set ambitious goals of forging a comprehensive and full lifecycle healthcare system in its Healthy China 2030 plan and designed concrete measures for the prevention and management of chronic diseases including diabetes and obesity.

As Chinese healthcare reforms continuously deepen, we hope to accelerate innovation and achieve simultaneous clinical research in China and globally, so that patients in China can benefit from our innovative medicines together with those in other countries and regions.

A5 Over the past decades, China has made continuous achievements in opening-up and efforts to optimize the business environment. Novo Nordisk has continuously played an active role in, progressed alongside and made contributions to it.

We hope for continued measures to expand high-level opening-up and optimize the business environment in the Chinese market. We will continue to conduct our business activities in a financially, socially and environmentally responsible way. Novo Nordisk is aspiring to grow together with China, increasing investment and accelerating innovation.

Dan Brindle, president of Novartis Group China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

A1 We have found the CIIE to be an important platform to showcase our latest medicines and innovations, accelerate industry connections and explore mutually beneficial partnerships.

A great example is our ever-evolving partnership with the Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone in Hainan province. We signed an MoU at the CIIE in 2020, and then another in 2021 that deepened our collaboration with Lecheng. So far, we've introduced six drugs to this pilot zone in advance of nationwide approvals. This amplification of opportunities and our partnership is a testimony to how our presence at the CIIE bears fruit.

A2 In just five years, the CIIE has become a premier international trade fair, attracting a wide range of participation from various nations, industry sectors and enterprises. Given economic and public health challenges around the world, I think the CIIE takes on a higher significance — our road to global recovery depends on people and nations coming together. At the same time, I think the expo is an important opportunity to remind the world of the vibrancy of China and Shanghai, and the welcoming embrace of the Chinese people.

A3 You cannot exaggerate the importance of China to the world or the global economy. As China continues on its journey of reform and opening-up, I believe that China's importance on the world stage will continue to evolve. For Novartis, China ranks as our most strategic market globally. China is now our third-largest market and we believe it should become our second-largest market by 2024.

A4 Although China has already become the world's second-largest pharmaceutical market, there still remain significant amounts of unmet medical needs across the country. This is certainly true in many therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular disease, immunology, neuroscience, oncology and ophthalmology, just to name a few.

At the same time, the Chinese government continues to strengthen the ecosystem to support a strong innovative pharmaceutical industry across the value chain, including China's regulatory environment, intellectual property protection as well as medical insurance, which benefits companies such as Novartis.

A5 China's focus on reform and opening-up, as well as attention to inclusive growth in the global economy, is strongly positive for China and the world. At Novartis, we are deeply committed to the Chinese market, and proactive government policies help strengthen our commitment and resolve to the Chinese market. As the policy ecosystem continues to evolve in support of business and innovation here in China, I believe the country will become more attractive to foreign investors such as Novartis.

Will Song, global senior vice-president of Johnson & Johnson and chairman of Johnson &Johnson China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

A1 It is the fifth consecutive year that Johnson &Johnson has participated in the CIIE. For us, this grand expo provides unique opportunities not only to share our cutting-edge innovation with the world, but very importantly, to join the top minds of the healthcare industry and our stakeholders to paint a picture of the future of health for humanity.

Riding on the influence of the past four CIIEs, many of Johnson &Johnson's innovative products and healthcare solutions sped up their entry into China to meet the growing health needs of Chinese patients and consumers. We look forward to having more in-depth engagement with partners on this platform.

A2 The CIIE is an important initiative taken by the Chinese government to expand opening-up and win-win collaboration, support innovation and create a better international business environment. Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19, the expo remains open to businesses around the world and continues to facilitate industry collaboration and communication.

The CIIE is a vivid testimony to the resilience of China's economy. We remain confident in the long-term prospects of the China market and our innovation-driven high-quality development in China.

A3 During our 37 years of local operation, we have witnessed the opening-up of the country and have contributed to, as well as benefited from, its extraordinary progress. As China grows to become the world's second-largest economy, we are heartened to see that the country is driving development for its trade partners, playing a key role as the world strives to recover.

A4 We feel humbled to work in an industry where people's health and well-being are our first and foremost priority. In the past few years, we have witnessed a continuous rise in people's health awareness. At the same time, we are also encouraged as the government steps up efforts in healthcare reform to incentivize innovation and improve access to quality care. We remain positive about the long-term prospects of China's healthcare industry.

A5 Since the start of reform and opening-up, the Chinese market has undergone a transformation that was unseen in other parts of the world throughout modern history. After four decades, it is without doubt that an open China has brought enormous opportunities for businesses around the world. Ushering in the new era, we continue to be encouraged by policies favorable to opening-up, government-led initiatives to support a more open and fair business environment, as well as China's efforts to bring more innovative healthcare products to serve our patients and customers in a better, faster way.

Wayne Shi, head of Sanofi Greater China. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

A1 The CIIE is an important opportunity for many multinational companies, including Sanofi, to share the dividends of China's opening-up and development. It plays an important role in promoting cooperation, increasing confidence, and building an ecosystem for the innovation and prosperity of the healthcare industry.

At the fifth CIIE, Sanofi exhibited 23 strategic and star innovative products covering complex healthcare issues such as rare immune and inflammatory diseases, chronic diseases, vaccines and consumer healthcare products — including five new products making their debut in China. We are looking forward to contributing to the Healthy China 2030 plan by leveraging our global R&D strengths and local insights through this important platform.

A2 Against the backdrop of the continued COVID-19 situation, the CIIE has sent to the world a message of openness, tolerance, inclusivity and mutual prosperity, while also showing its resilience amid multiple disruptions and challenges. The expo's "spillover effect" also bolsters the long-term confidence of multinational enterprises to continue their development in China. Sanofi looks forward to leveraging the CIIE platform and its spillover effect to bring more, faster and better innovative medical solutions to Chinese patients.

A3 China is not only the world's second-largest economy, but also a major contributor to global economic growth. The high level of opening-up it adheres to has given a strong impetus to the development of the world economy.

China is always at the center of our global strategy. Looking ahead, we are equally upbeat about China and will seize innovative insights for the healthcare sector's development while enthusiastically exploring new treatments for patients.

A4 China's economic pattern has evolved from one featuring "quantity-driven growth" to "high-quality development". Innovation holds the key to this critical transformation and Sanofi shares that very sentiment to fuel our own business.

For Sanofi, we will continue to innovate to improve people's lives by consistently accelerating the introduction of innovative medicines and vaccines, enhancing accessibility to innovative medicines and focusing on digital innovation to enhance efficiency.

A5 In recent years, we have felt China's determination and confidence in encouraging innovation more deeply, which is creating an internationally first-class business environment. By promoting a new model of high-level opening-up, China is actively supporting the foreign investment environment, providing more opportunities for foreign pharmaceutical companies to better develop in China. We are honored to be both a witness and a beneficiary of China's reform and opening-up policy.