The Fifth China’s (Yunnan) Foreign-Invested Enterprises Seminar — Corporate and Social Relations

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On 29 November 2013, more than 60 delegates attended the Fifth China’s (Yunnan) Foreign-Invested Enterprises Seminar – Corporate and Social Relations, held in Pu'er, Yunnan Province, and jointly organised by the Bureau of Commerce of Pu'er Municipality of Yunnan, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Study Center of Yunnan University, and Oxfam Hong Kong. The seminar facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogue among representatives from academia, business, and NGOs, exploring ways they can improve corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives within foreign-invested enterprises.

Since May 2011, when the ‘Opinions of the State Council on Supporting the Accelerated Construction of Yunnan Province as the Important Bridgehead Opening to the Southwest’, outward foreign direct investment has become a priority for Yunnan Province. Investment from Yunnan has had an increasing impact on the economic and social development of its local communities. In an effort to explore how foreign-invested enterprises can improve their CSR initiatives, Oxfam Hong Kong and the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Study Center of Yunnan University have created platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue among academics, businesses and NGOs.

Professor Guangsheng Lu, Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Yunnan University, and Linyou Shen, Director of the Bureau of Commerce of Pu'er Municipality of Yunnan, delivered the opening addresses. Professor Shihong Bi, Deputy Director of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region Study Center of Yunnan University, and Yun Fang, Researcher at the Southeast Asian Research Institute of the Yunnan Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, discussed their research results on two topics: ‘How Japanese companies fulfill their CSR: Risk aversion and Inspiration’ and ‘Perception of Chinese investment in Laos’. Their presentations were followed by an in-depth discussion with representatives from companies.

Participants from 38 foreign-invested companies in Pu'er shared insights on China's foreign investment in terms of life and property security, investment risk, CSR, and how companies can maintain the country’s positive image in this regard. Business representatives and experts actively participated in the discussion, put forward many suggestions, and shared their comments on how to improve the operating environment for foreign-invested enterprises, and to reduce risk.

Most participants agreed that the seminar increased their awareness of CSR.