Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

Davos 2010: 'Perceptions of China are wrong'

Man checking phone at Davos
China's growth remains a hot topic at the World Economic Forum

The boss of metals giant Alcoa, Klaus Kleinman, has said there are a lot of misconceptions about China in the West.

Speaking on a panel at Davos, Mr Kleinman said it was important to challenge the notion that China was not doing its bit for the environment.

For example, China's premier, Wen Jiabao, had brought in new rules for smelting aluminium he said.

We have seen Chinese companies changing their ways, "but perception counts", he told the audience of business leaders.

Meanwhile the American billionaire and head of the private equity group, Blackstone, said that people had a vision of China as being made up of just big polluting cities.

Stephen Schwarzman added that the view was often that if it could stage an event as astonishingly well as the Olympics then they ought to be able to do more to clean up their cities.

"China is very flexible as a culture - extremely high energy and that's the makings of a dynamic economy and culture," he said.

John Zhao from the Chinese investment firm Hony Capital stressed that China must improve the way it communicates with the rest of the world. He added that he had learned in the US "that companies must never get carried away with their own PR. The same applies to China".

On the subject of how fast China can increase its domestic consumption, that has been a recurring theme of this year's World Economic Forum, Mr Schwarzmann added: "The Chinese are super-savers... they save for old age and healthcare... how you break that cycle is where the battle will be fought out."

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