China needs to build global brands and companies similar to Apple Inc. to stave off a possible loss of competitiveness in as few as three years, said Jack Welch, former chief executive officer of General Electric Co.
Rising wages in China are fueling inflation and may spur more global manufacturers to move production to Vietnam and countries in Africa, Welch told reporters in Shanghai.
China is a “long way from losing its competitiveness,” he said. “It’s going to happen. Three years or five years, it will happen.”
China can no longer rely on exports and low-cost production for economic growth and must innovate by building global brands and creating “10,000 Apples,” he said. Steve Jobs, who transformed Apple into the world’s largest technology company before resigning as chief executive officer last month, is “absolutely” the world’s best business leader, he said.
“Right now China is missing global brands,” Welch said. “That won’t be for long.”
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