China is no longer just a manufacturing hub, says UBS
CHINA is fulfilling its ambition to shift its economy on from a reliance on manufacturing and is now creating things as well as just mass reproducing them, according to a top executive at Swiss bank UBS.
“A lot of things are being created now in China, rather than [it just] being a manufacturing hub,” UBS Asia Pacific President Kathryn Shih told CNBC UBS Greater China Conference in Shanghai.
“China is at the forefront of a lot of changes in financial technology. So we see a lot of financial firms using China technology now, whether it’s local firms or even international firms,” she said.
China is moving into more high-tech sectors, such as the electric car industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and e-commerce.
“We see the advent of … electric cars here and I think that’s going to be great in creating Chinese brands in the future,” Shih told CNBC.
Many UBS investors are looking to invest in up-and-coming names in the space — in which China is currently angling to become a leading player, she added. China has an advantage in adopting new technology because it has the ability to make regulatory changes and decisions relatively quickly.
One party state, however, is often accused of having a hostile business environment for foreign firms, but Shih was optimistic about UBS’ prospects compared to domestic asset managers.
“I think the main advantage of being local here is distribution channels and that happens everywhere. But China has actually been creating a more and more open field,” she said, highlighting Beijing’s announcement last year to lift the foreign equity ownership limit in certain financial sector joint ventures.
“There’s been a lot of opening up in recent few months that is great for foreign firms like us,” Shih added.