What global business needs to know about Xi

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Earlier this year, Chinese Communist Party big boss Xi Jinping broke with a 25-year tradition by unveiling a new senior leadership group that includes no clear potential heirs, raising the chances bigly that he will stay in office beyond 2022. 

His lengthy stay in office was ensured as the rubber-stamp legislative body in March passed a set of constitutional amendments removing term limits for the office of president.

The consolidation of power in the hands of one man is a departure from the collective leadership that guided China through decades of historical and impressive economic growth and consumer stability. Today's top leadership reveal is a return to China's cultural code of imperial command.

He's now seen as so powerful that Forbes ranked Xi as the most powerful and influential person in the world, dethroning Vladimir Putin who held the record for 5 consecutive years.

What does it mean for global business? How will he use this power? Does the C-Suite commit or retreat?

As always, global business and the Davos crowd hopes a stronger Xi will now be able to push through bold economic and financial reforms.

I don't see it.

Xi is beholden to China and not the shareholders of the world's Western-based blue chip companies.

Xi and his party ideologues coined the phrase "Chinese Dream" to describe his overarching plans for China as its leader.

Xi's plans and leadership enhancement does little to change the ethos that to invest and manage a business in China you need fortitude, patience, and need to think in China for China. Capital controls and other investment barriers remain, while debt soars.  

If you sell a commodity and consumer packaged good and service, all is well, and there will be continued access and success in the Middle Kingdom.

If you are a bank, a tech company, an oil exploration concern, a biotech startup, a developer of new energy vehicles, you best buckle-up. Your business model is seen as a challenge to where Xi wants to take China, and the Great Wall just got higher.

- Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Caracal Global and specializes in global communications, thought leader management, and event production at the intersection of international politics, policy, and profits. Working with senior executives from multinational corporations, trade associations, and disruptive startups, Marc helps business leaders navigate globalization, disruption, and American politics.