With more than 1,000 delegates ranging from Fortune 500 CEOs to heads of China's most important companies, along with government officials and celebrities, the Fortune Global Forum 2017 kicked off in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province on December 6.

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The Fortune Global Forum 2017 kicks off in Guangzhou on Dec. 6, 2017. The Chief Content Officer of Time Inc. and Fortune President Alan Murray addresses attendees at the opening ceremony. [Photo/Fortune]

Themed "Openness and Innovation: Shaping the Global Economy," the forum marks the fifth Fortune Global Forum held in China. The event has previously taken place in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chengdu and Beijing in the last 20 years, presenting a valuable opportunity for chiefs of the world's largest multinational companies to engage with China and its leaders from both business and government.

As Fortune said, "With unprecedented speed, a new innovation revolution is building in the digital era," nowhere in the world will this revolution be more profoundly felt than in China – with its new and burgeoning middle class, accelerating urbanization and expanding digital technologies.

"To date, China has 115 companies listed among the Fortune Global 500. For any company that has an ambitious global vision, China is a crucial market," said Alan Murray, Chief Content Officer of Time Inc. and Fortune President at the opening ceremony, emphasizing China's impact of shaping the global economy.

In a congratulatory letter to the Fortune Global Forum 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China will develop the open economy to a higher level, promote the Belt and Road Initiative, and push for a new pattern of all-round opening up, and he also said that China will not close its door to the world, but it will only become more and more open, with its business environment becoming more open, transparent and regulated.

The Guangzhou-based forum put this historically vibrant hub for free trade and innovation investment on the map again.

"As the forefront of reform, opening-up and innovation in China, Guangzhou has seen the miracles China has created in last 40 years, and today, it is still a powerful demonstration of China's innovation-driven development," said Li Xi, the secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the CPC.

Data provided by Guangzhou Municipal Commission of Commerce shows that by the end of this year a total of 297 Fortune Global 500 companies have invested in Guangzhou, covering a total of 920 projects, which fully demonstrates that Guangzhou has become the best place to be based in, invest in and develop.

At present, Guangzhou is working hard to develop its IAB industry – a new generation of the information technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and biomedical industry, which is a prosperous industry with high-technology content, strong innovation drive and great future potential.

During the three-day international event, world leaders and business titans will discuss the future of the industries in the age of digital technology. Meanwhile, they will explore how openness and innovation, in China and beyond, are primary forces in guiding economic development that will lead to prosperity and progress.