corporate diplomacy

A group of powerful Chinese business leaders set off on an eight-day Canadian tour Sunday that will connect them with Canada’s corporate and political elite, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This will be the first visit to Canada by the exclusive China Entrepreneur Club — often referred to as the billionaires club. It’s made up of 50 top Chinese firms that earn a combined $585 billion of annual gross income.

According to Ma Weihua, CEC president, the main purpose of the group's international tours is to bolster public diplomacy of the Chinese private sector, demonstrate the integrity of Chinese entrepreneurs, learn from the most advanced business environments of the world and seek opportunities for cooperation.

entrepreneurial diplomacy also has the potential to counter global trends of rising xenophobia and isolationism by providing a powerful channel for young men and women to express themselves and connect through a shared passion for invention and creativity.

Earlier this week, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to take action. So did 51 U.S. firms in a display of true corporate leadership because, simply put, a crisis of this scale requires all hands on deck --governments, foundations, international organizations, and, yes, the private sector.

It has been a shock for Baidu whose fortunes up until now had been very different. Together with the likes of Alibaba, Tencent, Suning, Baidu was supposed to be a role model business in what President Xi Jinping called the Chinese dream. [...] It is private sector internet entrepreneurs who project internationally China’s soft power, which remains disproportionately small compared to the size of its economy and military might.

"Our approach … is to use the ‘soft power’ of business," he says. "These businesses have influence as powerful economic actors and in countries in Africa and Southeast Asia; they are often very important to the local economy. [...] Soft power is one option, but companies could potentially use their economic clout by threatening to pull out of a country. 

Pages