The International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council [IBLAC] is preparing for its annual conference due to be held in October in Shanghai, China.
In preparation for the event, IBLAC business leaders convened via a virtual video-conference in June to engage each other and local Shanghai government officials in key dialogue, with Johnson Controls chairman and CEO George Oliver among the participants.
24 global business leaders from IBLAC including Oliver participated in the online event, and are expected to attend the main conference in October should the status of the Covid-19 pandemic at the time allow.
Other council members who took part in the video-conference include executives from industry heavyweights such as PwC, ABB, Siemens, L’Oreal, Novartis, General Motors and Schneider.
The virtual meeting, the first in IBLAC’s history, saw the 24 participating members engage with Shanghai politicians to discuss the coronavirus control measures in place in the city, as well as economic growth opportunities.
IBLAC was first initiated by the Shanghai municipal government in the late 1980s, and the mayor of the city invites council members to attend the city for a conference every autumn to discuss issues central for the development of the local economy. Johnson Controls CEO Oliver had attended his first annual IBLAC meeting in Shanghai in October 2019.
During the video-conference, the vice-mayor of Shanghai, Wu Qing, was seeking views on how to upgrade traditional industries in Shanghai and bring forward the digital overhaul of the manufacturing industry there.
Offering his advice, Oliver told the vice-mayor to “innovate in China, for China”, citing the recent collaboration between Johnson Controls and the state of Singapore as an example, proceeding to suggest how the local government in Shanghai could explore policy changes to free-up firms to upgrade and transform, reaffirming the commitment of Johnson Controls to the Chinese market.
IBLAC members pledged during the call that they would bring forward the development of new business models and contribute more to the economic growth of Shanghai, regarding the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity for cities to show not only strong leadership and governance, but competitiveness.
The city’s acting mayor Gong Zheng promised IBLAC in return during the call that Shanghai would endeavour to open more opportunities to investors to enhance the local business environment.