China's biggest political event, known as the“Two Sessions," kicked off on March 4. Sinochem Holdings’ Chairman Frank Ning, also a member of the Standing Committee of the 13th National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, attended the opening ceremony and gave interviews to media outlets including CCTV and CGTN, sharing his insights on topics in the government work report, such as high-quality development and innovation-driven development.
Q: This year’s government work report summarizes China’s macroeconomic achievements over the past year, with many eye-catching figures. What’s your comment?
Frank Ning: China’s economy saw a rapid recovery, leading the world in GDP growth despite the adverse impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the global trade environment. That is the biggest highlight of China’s macroeconomic performance. Meanwhile, China’s economy is not only quantitative, but also qualitative. The country also has achieved industrial upgrades.
Q: Last year’s annual Central Economic Work Conference pointed out that the Chinese economy is facing triple pressures. From your work experiences, how do you think China can cope with these pressures?
Frank Ning: From the perspective of enterprises, fiscal, monetary, industrial, and other macro policies generate a great impact on enterprises. So, stimulating the vitality of enterprises is the top priority. At present, stimulating the vitality of medium-sized and large enterprises is urgently needed. Affected by economic growth expectations and other factors, China tends to make economic stability the top priority. But China will also pursue progress while ensuring stability. After the economy recovers from major shocks including COVID-19, China must continue to stimulate the vitality of enterprises under new circumstances and roll out supporting policies in terms of finance, tax, industry access, capital market environment, supervision measures, environmental protection, and governance of state-owned enterprises.
Q: China will pursue innovation-driven development this year, as stated in the government work report. You mentioned that innovation is the only way out for enterprises. How do you understand the pursuit of innovation-driven development? Could you elaborate on that?
Frank Ning: Enterprises succeed because of their technological innovation and product innovation, exploration of new markets and new demands, as well as driving innovation in the entire industrial chain.
For Sinochem Holdings, if we go back to engaging in businesses such as petroleum, basic chemicals and trade in a general sense, we won’t have great potential for development. So, we need to upgrade through innovations. For example, we are currently focusing on new materials for automobiles, communications and other fields, innovative agricultural products including high-quality seeds and plant production products, as well as carbon emission control, recovery and storage technologies. These innovative businesses enjoy bright prospects. Of course, it takes time to nurture these innovations, which may be a very long and even painful process. Our team will face a huge test. But innovation has become a must-do for every enterprise.
Q: How do you understand the concept of carbon peaking and neutrality and relevant goals?
Frank Ning: Currently, the first problem encountered by almost all chemical industry chains is energy consumption, followed by emission. The chemical industry’s development is closely related to the carbon peaking and neutrality goals. So, for Sinochem Holdings, China’s goals of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 form the basic framework of our future planning, and we have to find opportunities for industrial upgrading under the framework.
We need to keep looking for better and cleaner energy sources. We also request the chemical industry to keep upgrading so that it can continue to pursue development through low energy consumption and continuous reduction of emission intensity. Technological innovation will play a big role in the self-governance of chemical enterprises. For example, Sinochem Holdings boasts strong capabilities in areas such as carbon capture and storage technologies and can use carbon dioxide as a sustainable raw material. This may be the key area for our future development and will contribute to the realization of the “dual carbon”goal.
Q: Last year Sinochem and China National Chemical Corporation were merged, becoming the largest chemical company in the world. What achievements have been made so far?
Frank Ning: A lot of achievements, we merged the company, and we became the largest, in assets, the largest chemical company in the whole world. So a lot of consolidation, merge and integration in the company.
So it's a value chain. And it's also technology chain, it’s the supply chain. Every chain, we combine them together. So you will see a different company this year, and the market will feel that, our partners will feel that, it's a different company now.