Though feeling gloomy about the prospects of world economy in the coming couple of years, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said here on Friday that China is still a fast growing economy, and may lead the world economy in the future.
Schwab, nearly 70, reiterated his confidence in the Chinese economy at a press conference in Tianjin, a north China metropolis that is hosting the 2008 Summer Davos forum, scheduled to open on Saturday.
The two-day forum is taking place at a difficult time for the world economy, as the Wall Street was rocked by the demise of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and is facing more difficulties for its banks and investors.
Schwab said the Wall Street storm "shocked" the world. "The change in the financial system will surely bring severe influence to the world," he said, adding that the depression of the Wall Street will change the way of working as well as the way of global cooperation.
He predicted that the world economy will see a slowdown in growth in the next one to three years, and China's growth rate will also drop to seven or eight percent. But he stressed that China is still the fastest growing economy in the world, and will keep a high growth in the future.
Schwab's confidence in the Chinese economy comes from his long-term cooperation with China. After inviting a 79-member Chinese delegation to the Davos annual meeting in 1978, Schwab visited China in the spring of 1979, kicking start his 30-year interaction with the country.
Impressed by China's economic growth and the inspiration of the Chinese entrepreneurs, Schwab set up the Platform of the New Champions four years ago, and decided to place the annual meeting of the forum in China.
According to Schwab, the new platform attracts not only members of the world top 500, but also some medium-sized and small companies.
"These young companies have the potential to list among the Fortune 500 in next five to ten years," he noted.
Schwab pointed out that the key for these medium-sized and small companies to success is to maintain inspiration and innovation, which will help them enter the global market and become new champions of the world.
Statistics show more than 200 leaders of new champion companies have registered to participate in the forum. Schwab expects even more participants in next year's New Champion meeting in Dalian of northeast China, and predicts that the number could reach 500 in two years.