by Martina Fuchs
GENEVA, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Swiss logistics company Kuehne+Nagel will continue to invest in China, and is set play a big part in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) which is now held in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10, the company's Asia Pacific president Wong Siew Loong told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"China is in a transition from the old economy of relying on just producing goods for multinational corporations (MNCs). It is now converting and producing more for Chinese companies and Chinese giants, such as EV cars, solar panels, or windmills," he said.
"We are still positive about China in the long term. Of course, short-term, the property sector is going to be a challenge, but it is more about the glass being half full rather than half empty," said the executive, who is based in Singapore.
In its "Regional Economic Outlook for Asia and Pacific" in October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast China's growth would reach 5 percent in 2023, and 4.2 percent in 2024.
On the other hand, global growth is forecast to slow from 3.5 percent in 2022 to 3 percent in 2023, and 2.9 percent in 2024, the lender said.
"If you look at the rest of the world, Europe is still hovering around 0-1 percent," said Wong. "We are still very positive and China continues to be a very big part of our strategy going forward."
Kuehne+Nagel has "always participated in the CIIE, even from the very first edition," Wong highlighted. "Even during the COVID-19 time we continued to be part of CIIE."
The CIIE is one of the world's biggest import-themed international expos, and aims to open the Chinese domestic market to foreign countries.
"The CIIE is really a benchmark, an event to show how much China is opening up. It's important for us to be there and to demonstrate that we are supporting China (...) and also helping to bring other Western customers into China."
In October, the Switzerland-based holding company released its corporate results for the January-September period, showing a good performance in a challenging market environment.
Group net turnover in the first nine months of 2023 reached 18.2 billion Swiss francs(20.1 billion U.S. dollars), while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) was 1.6 billion Swiss francs, with earnings of 1.2 billion Swiss francs.
"Obviously, we are very clear about what COVID has done to the logistics sector. The 2023 results show normalization in the market so it's still a very good set of results. We are happy and very focused on our Roadmap 2026 and Vision 2030."
However, given current global uncertainty he said it would be premature to make forecasts for 2024.
"The fourth quarter is the traditional peak season because the Western world, Europe and the United States, will buy for Christmas and Black Friday but unfortunately we are not seeing any peak season this year."
"For 2024, the global demand, the GDP growth in the U.S. and Europe add a lot of uncertainty combined with what is happening in the Middle East," he added. ■