Xi Praises Group of Global Business Leaders

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from The Wall Street Journal,

China’s Leader Seeks Advice From Global Business Chiefs at Beijing Gathering.

China has spent the past year telling foreign companies to clean up their acts. Names ranging from Apple Inc. AAPL +1.32% to Starbucks Corp. SBUX -1.25% to Volkswagen AG VOW3.XE +0.82% have come under intense scrutiny from government-controlled media for the ways they treat Chinese customers.

So executives at some of the world’s biggest multinational companies could perhaps be forgiven if they felt a sense of whiplash on Wednesday, when the country’s top Communist Party official publicly sought their advice.

“Many of you are renowned entrepreneurs and business leaders in the world today and you all have profound insight on the global economy, so that is why we attach great importance to the suggestions you offer,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told a group of nearly two dozen top foreign executives gathered in a building where Beijing entertains its most exalted guests. “Your suggestions are a very important source of inspiration for the Chinese government.”

It wasn’t clear whether the group had a chance to discuss business issues in the world’s No. 2 economy—reporters were ushered out of Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse after Mr. Xi’s remarks. But the remarks made in public were supportive. “You have all made positive contributions to China’s education of economic management,” he said. “I highly appreciate what you have done.”

Industry watchers say that the government typically targets multinational companies, which tend to be leaders or have high profiles in China, to initiate and encourage change within industries.

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