Government Affairs Forum hits third year high

PublicAffairsAsia, in conjunction with Weber Shandwick and AmCham China, has convened the 3rd China Government Affairs Forum in Beijing with a record number of attendees from a wide range of corporations.

Some 100 senior level government relations and corporate affairs practitioners came together to debate and discuss the new strategies of engagement required to develop corporate public affairs strategies during China’s transition phase.

The conference opened with Alistair Nicholas, executive vice president of lead sponsor Weber Shandwick, outlining the new challenges and opportunities confronting corporate government relations practitioners in China today.

Nicholas told the forum: “Professional public affairs is about developing win-win strategies, finding synergies between the needs of business and the demands placed on governments to grow the economy, develop a civic society, and build a fair and equitable political structure. If we can add value to that agenda of the government we are playing the game at a professional level.”

He said the 2012 Government Affairs Forum helped provide participants with the skills and knowledge to operate at this professional level.

The event came amid both global economic uncertainty and China’s forthcoming change in political leadership.

Mark O’Brien, vice president of PublicAffairsAsia, said: “The Government Affairs Forum is the only event dedicated specifically to PRC government relations.  Over one hundred government affairs specialists came together to discuss and debate a wide range of issues relevant to their increasingly important profession.  It has in just three years become the flagship event for GA specialists in China.”  

Sessions examined a wide range of issues, including the need to align corporate operating plans with government policy and the need to integrate all aspects of the communications and corporate affairs function in mainland China today.

Among the top-level speakers were David S Chen, vice president of Microsoft in Greater China, Sharon Ruwart, the lead GR manager for Mars in mainland China and former Australian ambassador Geoff Raby.

The full-day event included a series of networking and breakout sessions which examined wide-reaching issues including social media, the regulatory environment, crisis public affairs and an industry masterclass.

The forum is now the industry leading event for corporate government relations professionals and other managers operating in roles related to mainland China and will be convened in Beijing in June 2013 for the fourth year in succession.

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