Guangdong's European trading partners are eager to see the province develop a stronger intellectual property rights (IPR) legal framework that will help strengthen business ties.
"European businesses see big opportunities in Guangdong but they also see challenges and obstacles. I think the biggest concern is IPR," said Dr. Hans Dieter Schweisgut, Ambassador of the European Union to China told Newsgd.com after he delivered a keynote speech in a special event marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the EU and China.
"We know there is an IPR court in Guangzhou. That's a very good sign but still the reputation of Guangdong is not so good," said Schweisgut. "If Guangdong wants to keep its image as an attractive destination, and it also needs to improve this when we move to next stage of the economic ladder otherwise, companies will probably look for other opportunities," added Schweisgut.
In 2014, more than 20,000 IPR cases in Guangdong were investigated, involving 474 million yuan (nearly 76 million USD) including 1,562 cases transferred to judicial authorities, involving a net worth of 365 million yuan (nearly 56 million USD).
"Basically the awareness is there, and there's a great build-up of law and legislation which in most cases is very good," said European Union Chamber of Commerce in China President Jörg Wuttke. "My members constantly complain about the implementation of laws, the interconnection between the police, courts, and the government in order to tackle that problem," Wuttke added.
With the pressure of a slowing economy, China is focusing on industry transition this year. According to Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan, implementing innovation-driven development strategy is the most important way to restructure Guangdong to be an innovation base instead of a manufacturing base.
"China is more than ten percent of our global business. The success of China matters to us, frankly because there's no second China waiting anywhere. So if China cannot go through this transition successfully, all of us will take a hit," said Wuttke.