- The Two Sessions, consisting of China’s 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the 14th Chinese People’s Consultative Conference (CPPCC), have convened over the weekend to approve laws, institute the new president and government, and discuss general policy directions. Even though NPC and CPPCC are often dismissed as largely a talking shop, delegates in the past were able to express unique policy positions and, at times, influence government policy.
- As in previous years, several business leaders from different sectors have been able to gain a coveted delegation seat for the next five-year period. As the CCP is looking to assert more political control over economic resources, it is becoming more important for business leaders to operate inside the system in order to receive favorable political treatment. The industry distribution within the two institutions is an important signal of the leadership’s priorities.
- One of the most strongly represented industries is the automotive industry with the CEOs of Geely, Chery, Xpeng, and several others attending as delegates. Auto CEOs have handed in policy proposals mostly focusing on the development of New Energy Vehicles (NEV) and Intelligent Connected Vehicles (ICV). For example, He Xiaopeng, CEO of Xpeng and first-time delegate, calls for more trials and experimentation on insurance programs for autonomous vehicles.
- Other industries strongly represented are the semiconductor and the AI industry. The CEOs of Hua Hong (a chipmaker), Cambricon (AI chips), iFlytek (voice recognition), and SenseTime (facial recognition) are attending the Two Sessions.
- Notably absent are prominent industry representatives from China’s digital economy who have in previous years secured seats, such as Ma Huateng from Tencent, Li Yanhong from Baidu, and Ding Lei from NetEase. Chinese government representatives argue that this is reflective of the popular will, but, likely, the CCP is also signaling that these types of companies will be less prioritized in the next 5-year government period as Xi Jinping has in the last few years signaled a shift towards the “real economy”.
Sinolytics is a European research-based consultancy entirely focused on China. It advises European companies on their strategic orientation and concrete business activities in the People’s Republic.