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Merck looking forward to next 90 years in China

Source:chinadaily.com.cn 2024-01-05

Editor's note: The Chinese economy has maintained growth and resilience in 2023 as the country expands high-level opening-up and emphasizes high-quality development.

How do multinational executives evaluate the performance of their companies, their industries, as well as China's business environment? What are their expectations for 2024?

In this edition, we invited Marc Horn, newly appointed president of Merck China, to share his views and insights about the prospect of China's healthcare industry, the Chinese economy, and more. Let's take a look.

Q1: How has your company's performance been in China in 2023? Do you plan to expand your footprints in China in 2024?

In 2023, Merck achieved a significant milestone with the 90th anniversary of its establishment in China. As a German, family-owned company with a 355-year history, Merck has witnessed China's fast economic growth and impressive development over the past decades, and has demonstrated itself as a trusted partner in this century-long journey.

Last year also witnessed our further strategic healthcare investments in China and active collaborations with local innovative companies. In the new year, we will continue to deepen our footprint in China, remain close to our patients and customers, and seize the vast opportunities that lie ahead of us.

China is pursuing high-quality development on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, and Merck is well-positioned to contribute toward China's vision of building a healthier, greener, and digitally empowered nation for the well-being of its 1.4 billion people. At Merck, we are looking forward to our next 90 years in China.

Merck's Life Science Center in Nantong, Jiangsu province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Q2: What are your evaluation and expectations of China's business environment as well as a higher level of opening-up?

Merck is a global company with a long-standing commitment to globalization. We firmly believe that globalization fosters collaboration, drives innovation, and improves access to resources from different regions, enabling us to better address global challenges. We firmly believe that there is no alternative to free trade and no world without China.

We are optimistic that the ongoing implementation of measures to further open up the market, such as the foreign investment law revisions and pilot free trade zones, indicate China's commitment to fostering a more transparent and accessible business environment. As a multinational company that operates in more than 10 cities in China, Merck benefits from China's significant advancements in streamlined administrative procedures, market access expansion, and intellectual property protection, all of which have led to a more open and vibrant Chinese market.

Merck's M Lab in Shanghai. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Q3: What are your expectations for China's economy in 2024?

After impressive high economic growth for more than three decades, China has now entered a pivotal phase focused on optimizing its economic structure and transitioning toward high-quality development. I believe that China will maintain its economic growth and remain a key contributor to global economic recovery in 2024.

In the mid and long run, I am optimistic that China's economy will largely benefit from the current ongoing economic reforms, which target a Chinese path to modernization driven by industrial upgrading, high-tech development, and green initiatives.

Our three business sectors - life science, healthcare, and electronics will remain committed to steady and sustainable high-quality development in China. In particular, we see unrealized potential and vast opportunities in China's increasing need for healthcare, high-quality food and drugs, solutions on environmental protection, and a digital economy, where Merck is in a sweet spot to continuously contribute with our innovative products and services.

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