(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Chairman Li Rongrong,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to attend this CEO Summit hosted by the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, (SASAC), and the Embassy of Sweden. The topic of today's discussion, how companies can help build and maintain an innovative capacity, is important, timely, and an issue that I follow with great interest.
Science and innovation have a great influence on today's society and affect how we live and work. New "science-based" technologies help protect the environment. Advances in genetics save lives and improve health. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry is transforming the way we communicate with each other.
A comprehensive strategy on innovation is crucial for every country and for every corporation that wants to become more competitive.
I am proud to say that Sweden has managed quite well in an international comparison. We are considered one of the most innovative nations in the world. Many inventions and discoveries have Swedish origin.
Our public school system was put in place already in the beginning of the 18th century. It created an interest in technology and fostered a culture of engineering. Major investments in research and development have also contributed.
Many of our leading companies, such as Ericsson and Sandvik that are represented here today, were built on innovations made more than one hundred years ago. Others, like ball bearings from SKF, also have had a big impact.
The development of the Chinese economy over the last three decades impresses the world. Many have also noted how well China and the Chinese industry managed during the recent global financial crisis. You have reason to be proud of these accomplishments.
When China shifts to a new model of economic growth innovation plays an important role. China is already becoming a hotbed of business innovation. But there is still a huge untapped potential. SASAC is contributing to this development. Many of the State-Owned Enterprises make huge investments in research and development and are leaders in sectors ranging from telecommunication and power generation to ship building and gas exploration.
When I met with president Hu Jintao yesterday, we talked about increased cooperation between our countries in several areas. Innovation was one of them. In many ways Sweden and China are ideal partners in this area. Sweden, Swedish companies and the Swedish model for organizing society can provide some of the answers to the challenges facing China in the continuing upgrading its industry.
This CEO summit offers a unique opportunity to learn more about innovation in practice and what strategies to use to foster an innovative spirit in our organisations. I hope the summit will lead to intensified cooperation between Swedish and Chinese companies in this area of highest relevance today.