Here Are All The Corporate CEOs Who Made A Beeline To China To Chase Huge Market Opportunities Amid The Country's Reopening

Zinger Key Points
  • China is one of the biggest markets for most companies.
  • Personal visits by CEOs come amid the backdrop of a worsening relationship between China and the U.S.
  • Beijing is trying to demonstrate that it is open for business, in defiance of what it says are U.S. containment efforts, a report suggests.

Nvidia Corp.'s NVDA CEO Jensen Huang is rumored to be visiting China on Tuesday for the first time in four years. Incidentally, a slew of corporate head honchos have been heading to the country.

What Happened: China has held out a lot of promise for U.S. companies, given its status as a preferred base for production and its sizable market opportunity.

Here are a few top corporate executives who visited China in recent months:

  • Tesla, Inc. TSLA CEO Elon Musk: The billionaire traveled to China on Tuesday and departed from the country on Thursday, completing a two-day whirlwind visit. During his visit, he met with several key Chinese government officials and stopped by Tesla's Giga Shanghai factory.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s JPM Jamie Dimon: Dimon was in China in the past week in connection with a three-day JPMorgan Global China Summit in Shanghai. During his visit, he called for real engagement between the U.S. and China on trade and security issues.
  • Coffee retail chain Starbucks Corp. SBUX CEO Laxman Narasimhan: Narasimhan, who assumed the role of CEO on March 20, visited China last week. China is Starbucks' second largest market after the U.S. More importantly, the China visit marked Narasimhan's first overseas trip outside of North America.
  • General Motors Corp.'s GM Mary Barra was in China in late May and met with officials in Shanghai in connection with investments in the country.
  • Apple, Inc. AAPL CEO Tim Cook: The Apple CEO was in China in late March and met with China's commerce minister Wang Wentao to discuss industrial and supply chain stabilization.
  • Pfizer, Inc. PFE CEO Alberta Bourla: The pharma giant CEO visited China in late March. During the visit, the company signed an agreement with China to improve health coverage in the country.

The spate of China trips by corporate CEOs is likely to continue. In addition to Nvidia's Huang, cosmetics retailer LVMH's LVMUY LVMHF chief Bernard Arnault is all set to visit China in June, Reuters reported, citing two sources.

See Also: Best Chinese Stocks

China Lure: Most of the company heads are visiting China for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trips follow the country’s recent reopening. China, as the second-largest economy in the world and the second-most populous country, is a key market for many of these multinational corporations.

The country is also known for its skilled and cheap manpower, which makes manufacturing cheaper in the country. Tesla's cheapest cars come from its Shanghai Giga factory. Apple still has a majority of its supply chain in China despite its best efforts to diversify away from the country due to simmering U.S.-China tensions and COVID-19 disruptions.

Beijing, for its part, has been very welcoming to corporate leaders as China works to prop up its economy following COVID-19 disruptions. The development also reflects a breakdown of U.S-China relations, which are at the lowest point in decades, a Financial Times report said.

"At a more strategic level, Beijing is trying to demonstrate that it is open for business, in defiance of what it says are U.S. containment efforts through export controls on high-technology items such as semiconductors, " the report said, citing analysts.

Despite the cordiality seen between China and corporate chiefs, government-level discussions between the two countries have been abysmally weak. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in early February postponed indefinitely a planned visit to China following the spy balloon incident.

The iShares MSCI China ETF MCHI settled Friday’s session 2.66% higher at $45.52, according to Benzinga Pro data.

Related Link: Jamie Dimon Visits Taipei With China Tensions Boiling: JPMorgan CEO Is Third American Exec To Visit In Recent Weeks

Image: Shutterstock

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Posted In: AsiaNewsPoliticsGlobalTop StoriesTechMediaAlbert BourlaBernard ArnaultChinaElon MuskJamie DimonJensen HuangLaxman NarasimhanMary BarraTim Cook
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