This event brought together the Global Growth Companies, the Forum’s new community of fast-growing businesses, along with the Technology Pioneers and the Young Global Leaders. More than 1,700 business, government and civil society leaders, representing 90 nations, participated. At the meeting, 125 Global Growth Companies, 40% of which were Asian businesses, were welcomed as founding members of the community. These New Champions were able to share ideas with each other and with veterans from established businesses – a valuable opportunity for young upcoming leaders to learn from mentors.
In his keynote address to open the meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that the event reflected “both the international community’s focus on the fast-growing companies and regions and its strong desire to establish a new international economic order.” He also told participants that China recognized the need “to cooperate with the international community.”1
Earlier, at the Annual Meeting in Davos, the Russian Federation’s First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev received special attention. Many observers of Russian politics now identify Medvedev’s appearance as an early indication that he would take over as president from Vladimir Putin in May 2008.
As 2007 progressed, worries mounted about the global financial system, particularly the US economy and real estate market. The Forum’s Global Risk Report warned that a blow-up in asset prices was one of the major risks confronting the world. Concerned about the likelihood of a major global recession after listening to experts, Klaus Schwab concluded that he had to act. The Forum shifted its investment portfolio into mainly Swiss government bonds. This decision saved the Forum from the fate of many foundations that lost substantial parts of their endowment when markets slumped in the autumn of 2008.
After participating in the Annual Meeting 2006, parliamentarians from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) formed a Davos Caucus to support the activities of the Forum as it organized the first East Asia Summit to be held in Tokyo in June. Legislators from the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) later set up their own caucus under the chairmanship of Yukio Hatoyama, who became prime minister in September 2009 after the DPJ won elections. Eventually, both parties created a single caucus, with co-chairs from both sides – a bipartisan model that has been replicated in other countries including the US.
- Wen Jiabao, “A Growing China Embraces a Bright Future”, Opening Address to the World Economic Forum Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions, 6 September 2007