After a decade of plain sailing for China’s economy, CEOs have recently had to navigate a decidedly more complicated business landscape.
Perhaps it’s not surprising then that, in our Annual Global CEO Survey this year, the confidence of China’s CEOs in their business growth prospects fell below the global average for the first time in its 18-year history. In fact, nearly 60% of them believe there are more threats to the growth of their company today than there were three years ago. This erosion of confidence in China’s economy is shared by global CEOs: for the first time in five years, the US has overtaken China as the most important market for overseas growth.
The challenge for China’s business leaders is to establish a platform for success and growth in an economic climate that could well be the “new normal”. The good news for China’s CEOs is that a strong majority (71%) believe there are more growth opportunities for their company today than there were three years ago. Also, more than half are planning to increase headcount in the next 12 months.
To make sure growth is sustainable in a global economy being transformed by digital innovation, new business models and changing consumer behaviour, companies will have to embrace new technology and be open to new ways of collaborating - both with traditional business allies and also with unconventional partners, be it academia, or even consumers.
In many ways, to succeed in this new economy requires a new digitally inventive and flexible mindset. That’s why we believe nurturing and holding onto a diverse mix of talent is one of the most important leadership qualities a CEO can command nowadays.
In this year’s CEO Survey, nine out of 10 CEOs in China said they were concerned about the availability of key skills. On the surface, the future looks bright. After all, by 2020, 40% of Chinese 18 to 22-year-olds will have a college education. The question CEOs need to ask is, “Do I have a corporate strategy and culture that can bring the best out of and retain the Millennial generation?"
Half the China CEOs we interviewed said they already had a strategy in place to promote diversity and inclusiveness - and an overwhelming majority agreed that having such a strategy will help attract new talent to the business.
In the global, increasingly mobile and technology-driven 21st century economy, you’ve got to have talent.
Read more in the newly released China summary of PwC's 18th Annual Global CEO Survey.
Dennis Nally leads the global network of PwC firms. He has extensive experience serving large multinational clients in a variety of industries, principally focusing on technology and life sciences. Dennis is also a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on issues affecting the professional services profession and the global capital markets. Read Dennis Nally's full biography.