March 25, 2021, Beijing – The American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) successfully held the inaugural Social Impact Summit in Beijing today. The full-day conference marked the conclusion of the Chamber’s first Social Impact Initiative (SII), a six-month, twin-tracked program that aims to help China’s millions of small enterprises recover from the pandemic and accelerate healthcare reforms by bringing together government, companies, institutions, and experts from China, the US, and globally to deliver positive, practical, and innovative recommendations to Chinese policymakers.
The Summit saw keynote speeches from Zhu Guangyao, former Vice Minister at the Ministry of Finance; Gao Fu, Director-General of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and Shan Lipo, Director-General of the China Centre for the Promotion of SME Development. In total, 25 high-profile speakers from Chinese government, international organizations, think tanks, media, and multinational companies joined the summit to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing China’s micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the public health sector.
“COVID-19 has had a far-reaching impact on China’s public health system and micro, small, and medium-sized,” said AmCham China President Alan Beebe. “Last year, we recognized an urgent need to support China in these two hard-hit areas, and our member companies quickly stepped forward to offer assistance. We believe that the private sector has an important role to play in supporting China to achieve its goals in these areas, and that AmCham China and our many partners are uniquely qualified to do so. After more than six months of intense effort, we are excited to share the highlights of the excellent work and recommendations that we developed in collaboration with our member companies, global experts, policymakers, and thought leaders throughout 2020.”
The Summit witnessed the launch of the AmCham China Social Impact Report, which condensed work undertaken during the six-month SII. The report brings together various stakeholders’ perspectives, and highlights key challenges, recommendations, and best practices for each of the two tracks.
SII acknowledged that MSMEs are the lifeblood of China’s economy, and that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated already challenging conditions. Challenges identified in the MSME track include a lack of financing channels, the inefficient use and slow process of digital transformation, and a difficulty in accessing foreign markets. As such, the SII proposes the following recommendations to enable MSMEs to effectively navigate these challenges with the support of the private and public sectors:
- Make the financial system more inclusive for MSMEs by improving MSME creditworthiness, introducing innovative financing models, and promoting the use of risk management solutions.
- Create a conducive environment for digital transformation by strengthening policy support, providing more relevant solutions through multi-sectoral collaboration, and encouraging small-scale implementation to catalyze bigger initiatives.
- Empower MSMEs to access global markets by mediating between MSMEs and global market players, leveraging resources to enhance their ecosystem, catalyzing MSME innovation, and consolidating support from private sector stakeholders.
With public health at the forefront of China’s priorities as a consequences of the pandemic, the SII approached this issue from a multidimensional perspective to explore the challenges in greater detail and illustrate a well-rounded set of practical recommendations. Key challenges include healthcare delivery and quality, healthcare funding and financing options, and the need for a robust evaluation framework to aid in developing evidence-based policy reforms. The SII believes that the existing policy framework set forth by the government has provided a solid foundation to improve public health outcomes in China. As such, the recommendations presented in the report are intended to build on existing efforts and provide additional perspectives shared by the private sector, which include:
- Strengthen current healthcare education and training programs.
- Include the participation of the public, NGOs, business, academia, and other parties in the development of a public health system at all stages to ensure the resilience of the system and accelerate reform, while acknowledging that the government could and should take the lead.
- Accelerate the application of digital health care.
- Place greater emphasis on the innovation and promotion of health care financing solutions.
This report explores the above challenges and recommendations in greater detail and illustrates on-the-ground experiences of public health practitioners and stakeholders across the twin tracks. To download a full copy of the report, please click here.
The SII was conducted with the generous support of the Ford Foundation. Sponsors for the public health track include: GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, MSD, NVIDIA, Viatris, United Family Healthcare, Bell, Dell Technologies, Honeywell, Microsoft. Sponsors for the MSMEs track include: Cargill, Google, Intel, PayPal, Amazon, FedEx, Dell Technologies, eBay, Mars, Mitsubishi Corporation.
To sign up for the 2021 Social Impact Initiative, please email Kathy Li at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About AmCham China – US-China Business: The Next 100 Years
The American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose membership comprises 4,000 individuals from over 900 companies operating across China. The Chamber’s nationwide mission is to help American companies succeed in China through advocacy, information, networking, and business support services. In addition to our headquarters in Beijing, AmCham China serves Tianjin, Central China, and Northeast China through our Chapters in Tianjin, Dalian, Shenyang, and Wuhan. Across the five offices, AmCham China has more than 30 working groups, and holds more than 150 events each year. Visit the Chamber’s website at www.amchamchina.org
For more information, please contact:
Mark Dreyer, Marketing & Communications Director, AmCham China