Innovation the top priority among China executives

By Hu Yuanyuan (

The chief executives of China-headquartered companies are prioritising innovation to drive growth and have highlighted it as one of their top strategic priorities, ahead of their global counterparts, a KPMG report reveals.

The report, titled ‘2016 China CEO Outlook–Now or Never’ and released on Wednesday, features the China-specific findings from a global KPMG CEO report, which interviewed 1,268 CEOs worldwide, including 129 from China.

Despite operating in different industries, one common theme emerged among the responses from chief executives in China: innovation will be a crucial driver of growth over the next three years.

Almost half of the Chinese respondents placed “fostering innovation” as one of the top three strategic priorities for their companies over the next three years–compared to just 21 percent of overseas CEOs. In addition, 92 percent of the Chinese respondents believed it was important to include innovation in their business strategy, with 47 percent placing innovation at the top of their personal agendas – compared to 23 percent globally.

“Despite today’s global geo-political uncertainty and disruptive market and social forces, the CEOs in our survey are focused on growth, by strengthening their capabilities today and readying their businesses for a very different future, through transformation, advanced technology and more specialized talent,” said KPMG International chairman John Veihmeyer.

“Nowhere is this more evident than China, where CEOs are especially confident about the prospects for growth and recognize the importance of creating a culture of innovation, and collaboration.”

According to the survey, half of the Chinese respondents viewed “new products” as the primary source of growth over the next three years. In addition, China’s chief executives identified “new product development”, “increasing data analysis capabilities” and “Internet of Things, machine-to-machine technology, Industrial internet or other aspects of technology” as the top three focus areas for further investment in the next three years.