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From November 22 to 24, 2011, the International Capital Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), with the theme of “Cooperation, Innovation and Growth,” took place in Paris, France. More than 300 government officials, entrepreneurs, economists, and financial executives from Asia, Europe, and America gathered there to conduct in-depth discussions on important economic topics such as international financial centers, European IPO rules, multinational mergers and acquisitions, capital reform, and technological innovation. After its London conferences in 2008 and 2009, the BFA once again headed to Europe. Due to the G20 Summit held almost simultaneously in France’s Cannes, along with the looming European Debt Crisis, the BFA attracted greater attention than expected. Prior to the meeting, BFA Secretary-General Zhou Wenzhong sat down with China Pictorial.
China Pictorial: Mr. Zhou, will you please introduce our readers to the BFA International Capital Conference?
Zhou Wenzhong: An important specialized BFA meeting in the second half of 2011, the International Capital Conference is co-organized by the BFA, Cavendish Group, and France’s Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry. Taking advantage of the G20’s location in France’s Cannes, the subsequent conference in Paris will gather government officials, economic organizations, industrial and commercial leaders, and specialists from around the world to help Asian enterprises understand trends and possible needed adjustments of the international capital market after the G20 Summit.
As scheduled, the conference will consist of 17 meetings and roundtable sessions, and its major topics will include global capital after the G20 Summit at Cannes, CEOs’ perspectives, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, high-tech innovation in emerging economies and Europe, raising capital for emerging-market companies, developing international financial centers, launching IPOs, and nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Participants are encouraged to find diverse methods of exchange, and the conference aims to provide opportunities for Asian companies, especially those from China, to engage in face-to-face dialogues with renowned international organizations.
In 2008, the BFA began expanding its reach to Europe. When the 2008 and 2009 BFA International Capital Conferences were both held in London, the events offered Asian enterprises a platform to learn about the latest trends of the international capital market, carry out investment and finance through London’s capital market, and communicate face-to-face with European counterparts. For this reason, such a platform was not only welcomed by Asian entrepreneurs, but also attracted great attention from governments and financial sectors of European countries. Early this year, France expressed its intention to host the 3rd International Capital Conference. After a sterling reputation built over the two previous events, the conference has not only attracted attention from China and traditional capital powers, but also caught eyes from emerging economies throughout the world.
CP: The BFA is an international organization with China’s Boao as its permanent site and focuses on serving Asia. So, why did it choose to hold conferences beyond the Asian region?
Zhou: One principle of the BFA is “Based on Asia, Facing the World.” Holding conferences beyond Asia is a way for us to “face the world.” In addition to its annual meetings, the BFA holds specialized conferences in Asia and even elsewhere in the world. In addition to Asian events such as the 2003 International Tourism Cooperation Conference held in Hong Kong, the 2004 Energy Forum in Tehran, Iran, and the 2006 Asia Culture Forum held in Kyoto, Japan, London hosted the 2008 and 2009 International Capital Conferences, and the Energy, Resources and Sustainable Development Conference was held in Perth, Australia, in July of this year. These specialized conferences held around the world serve as useful extensions and supplements to BFA annual sessions, helping to spread its global influence.