Telstra wins International Investment Strategist award in China
Last weekend in Beijing, China, Telstra won the “International Investment Strategist” award at China’s 5th International CEO Roundtable of Chinese and Foreign Multinational Corporations! We applied on the merits of Telstra’s strong commitment to Asia, and especially China. There were more than 100 other multinational corporation (MNC) applicants for this award, many of these have significant investment portfolios. We were among 20 awardees and our co-awardees include Boeing, Carrefour, Cisco, Motorola, Manpower (whose President sat next to me and told me Telstra and Manpower are customers of each other in Australia).
The International CEO Roundtable is a platform of cooperation and exchange for Chinese and foreign multinational corporations (MNC), and a mechanism of communication and dialogues between Chinese and foreign industrial, commercial leaders and government officials.
Many top Chinese leaders attended this summit, including Mr. Jia Qinglin, who’s a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau (nine-members only, the top echelon). Mr Jia delivered a keynote speech with three key points: (1) China’s commitment to open-up policy will not sway; (2) the 12th Five-Year Planning Period (2011 – 2015) is a period when MNC’s can play a bigger role in China, not only in business but also in social responsibility; (3) the Chinese government will continue to improve investment environment for MNC’s.
During the conference, we heard from both the Chinese government and multinational companies to hear their views about doing business in China. I also had the opportunity to introduce these VIPs to Telstra and our long-term business ties with China. It was encouraging to hear the confirmation of the Chinese government’s support for the “Opening Up Policy” (the opening up of China to foreign investment), as well as the cooperation between international companies and Chinese companies. At the invitation of the 5th International CEO Roundtable, I delivered a speech themed “China’s 12th five-year plan and the development of multinational corporations” at the closed meeting of China Presidents for Foreign Multinational Corporations.
I’ve included a picture of me accepting the award on behalf of the Telstra team. We also got a nice award certificate that I’m planning to display at our Beijing office.
Last weekend it was also the Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the 5th day of 5th lunar month in the Chinese calendar: it’s an event that has been held annually for more than 2,000 years! Since 2008 this has been a national holiday in China to commemorate our ancient culture. The festival has also long been celebrated in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. Equivalent and related festivals in Asia include the Kodomo no hi in Japan, Dano in Korea, and Tết Đoan Ngọ in Vietnam.
Besides the holiday, and dragon boat races, all kinds of activities are held to remember a Chinese patriotic poet named Quyuan who loves his country strongly and cared about the future of China. Qu Yuan shared some of the sentiment of the Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar who penned the famous Australian poem “I love a sunburnt country”.
Sadly, there’s no river in Beijing for dragon boat races, but my team enjoyed a well deserved long weekend anyway!
The Legend of Dragon Boat Festival (source: Wikipedia)
The best-known traditional story holds that the festival commemorates the death of poet Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BCE) of the ancient state of Chu during the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty. A descendant of the Chu royal house, Qu served in high offices. However, when the king decided to ally with the increasingly powerful state of Qin, Qu was banished for opposing the alliance; he was accused of treason. During his exile, Qu Yuan wrote a great deal of poetry, for which he is now remembered. Twenty-eight years later, Qin captured Ying, the capital of Chu. In despair, Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.
It is said that the local people, who admired him, dropped sticky rice triangles wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river to feed the fish. The rice was wrapped so that fish would not eat Qu Yuan’s body and eat the rice instead. This is said to be the origin of zongzi. The local people were also said to have paddled out on boats, either to scare the fish away or to retrieve his body. And this is said to be the origin of dragon boat racing.