Amid economic uncertainty and an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape, over 1,600 global leaders from business, government, civil society and international organizations gathered at the World Economic Forum’s 15th Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024 in Dalian, China. The meeting forged partnerships and showcased innovations and solutions that can spur a global economic recovery.

This year’s theme, “Next Frontiers for Growth”, addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing global landscape. Participants engaged in high-level discussions and workshops designed to foster cooperation and explore new avenues for robust growth. The meeting also provided a timely update on China’s economic outlook and that of Asia at large, a region that continues to drive two-thirds of global growth.

“To drive future economic growth, we must embrace innovation and foster collaboration across sectors, regions, nations and cultures to create a more peaceful, inclusive society and resilient future,” says Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“Artificial Intelligence, green energy and biomedicine – I believe these sectors have the promise to evolve into multitrillion-dollar pillar industries,” said Li Qiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China. “In many ways, the depth of international cooperation determines the height of human development,” he adds.

“To blaze new trails — we need innovative mindsets. We need new roads. We need out-of-the-box thinking,” says President Andrzej Duda of Poland.

“The future hinges on innovation, climate action and high-quality human resources,” says Pham Minh Chinh, prime minister of Viet Nam. “We must adopt a new mindset and approach that is people-centred and comprehensive, ensuring benefits for all.”

“Education is important. I think we cannot underestimate the value that we must put on human development,” says Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Co-Chair of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024.

The meeting focused on six thematic pillars: a new global economy; China and the world; entrepreneurship in the age of AI; new frontiers for industries; investing in people; and connecting climate, nature and energy.

A New Global Economy

While the global economy is poised for stabilization, the pace of expansion of global growth is expected to remain tepid by historical standards, with “cautious optimism” as the norm. Participants agreed that global collaboration and innovation were key to protect and propel economic growth as they can address climate emergencies, rising geopolitical tensions or the accelerating infodemic. However, conflict and competition were seen to significantly reduce the appetite for collaborative action, with geo-economic fragmentation creating divergences between regions.

Governments are taking an active role in shaping economic and industrial policies, with a focus on key growth areas such as technology and green industries to enhance competitiveness.

Sessions focused on balancing priorities like technology acceleration and inclusive and sustainable growth, building on the Forum’s Future of Growth Framework, and exploring how coordinated fiscal, trade and industrial strategies can strengthen recovery while curbing inflation.

The Future of Growth Initiative welcomed new members, reaching a network of over 30 government and business leaders to promote new models of growth in their countries and industries, investing in innovation, inclusion, sustainability and resilience. Advancing women’s employment was put forward as a strong measure to boost economic output and to address stalling growth progress globally.

“For Rwanda, the choice to leverage frontier technologies really is a matter of necessity. It’s a question of survival,” says Paula Ingabire, minister of information communication technology and innovation of Rwanda, co-chair of the annual meeting of the New Champions 2024.

China and the World

The Chinese Economic Outlook session announced growth targets of around 5%, with China forecast as the single largest contributor to global growth in 2024. Much attention was paid to the drivers of this growth, with a focus on short-term economic stimulus and longer-term systematic approaches required to revitalize growth prospects and ensure economic development. The meeting offered a valuable platform on China’s expanding global technology footprint and increasing expenditure.

As the largest emerging economy, China plays an important role in shaping cooperation and multilateralism. Economic ties between China and the Middle East are strengthening due to fast-growing trade and investment, strategic collaboration on the energy transition, geopolitical priorities and mutual interest in overseas markets. Cooperation between the United States and China must continue to contribute to coordination on global priorities such as climate change, health and innovation.

“At the aggregate level, the Chinese manufacturing boom just seems to be gathering pace. We have not actually seen what it looks like yet when the Chinese manufacturing miracle really hits its stride,” said Adam Tooze, Director, European Institute, Columbia University.

Entrepreneurship in the Age of AI

The Forum launched its annual Top 10 Emerging Technologies report, which examined the acceleration of global connectivity, the rise of AI and the convergence of the physical, digital and biological worlds. The rapid development of emerging technologies is expanding the potential for productivity, growth and sustainability. Several sessions gave a special focus on generative AI as demonstrating immense long-term potential to reshape and improve various industries for years to come.

Entrepreneurs were seen as crucial in unlocking the potential of these emerging technologies. Over 200 members from the Forum’s innovator communities attended – including entrepreneurs, investors, partners and experts from the Forum’s UpLink community, as well as social innovators who received an award from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The meeting emphasized the importance of governance aligned with societal values and explored how infrastructure, investment and policy intersect. Participants advocated for responsible global design, development and deployment of inclusive AI to benefit and protect humanity. The Forum released the Responsible AI Playbook for Investors, the first guide to help investors capture the full value of AI opportunities while mitigating risks.

In parallel, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship launched a report that introduces a series of principles for the responsible scaling, implementation and management of AI for social innovation. The Forum also launched the AI Transformation of Industries in China to help companies across all sectors, from financial services to manufacturing to consumer goods, harness AI applications for higher productivity.

“The technologies that we see both in the digital economy, but also around the energy transition will transform industry and society,” says Mirek Dušek, MD of the World Economic Forum.

“Organisations make better choices when they understand the factors shaping the future,” said Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

New Frontiers for Industries

The meeting addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by significant economic, geopolitical, environmental and technological shifts that have impacted industries and supply chains in recent years. Manufacturing industries worldwide face a critical juncture where embracing responsible transformation is not an option but a necessity for competitiveness, resilience and sustainable growth.

In collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Industry CEO community, the Forum launched the nomination process for the next cohort of the New Generation Industry Leaders programme – the world’s premier accelerator aiming to equip emerging leaders in manufacturing and supply chains with the skills needed to drive responsible and inclusive industrial transformation.

The Industry Net Zero Accelerator Initiative launched a new action track to help manufacturing SMEs accelerate their sustainable transformation. Leading manufacturers part of the Global Lighthouse Network of most advanced sites around the world identified key changes needed to successfully scale the implementation of digital technologies across value chains.

Investing in People

Nearly a quarter of all jobs and over 40% of workers’ skills will face disruption due to such factors as geoeconomics, technology and the green transition. The meeting provided valuable insights on the future of jobs, requiring a focus of placing people at the core of technological and economic shifts, aiming to foster progress and ensure that individuals are equipped to thrive.

Several sessions highlighted the opportunity in leveraging technology to accelerate education and skill building. Participants discussed key areas that needed innovative approaches related to reskilling, leveraging AI responsibly, addressing climate-related health challenges. A report on the impact of climate change on health and priority areas of intervention for the private sector was also published. Building on the findings from the Global Gender Gap Report 2024, a session underscored the urgent need for a renewed global commitment to achieving gender parity.

“[Nature] published evidence to show that remote collaborations brought about as a result of the pandemic and post-pandemic world are leading to fewer breakthroughs,” says Magdalena Skipper, editor-in-chief of Nature.

“We need an integrated model that takes into account the impact our growth is having on the social, the human, the natural capital,” says André Hoffmann, chairman of Massellaz and vice-chair of Roche.

Connecting Climate, Nature and Energy

The Forum’s latest edition of the Energy Transition Index evaluates 120 countries’ progress in their energy transition to a more equitable, secure and sustainable energy system and was launched around the meeting. An issue briefing highlighted the gap in energy transition performance between advanced and developing economies and how urgent action was required in the fight against climate change.

The first cohort of China-based, impact-driven start-ups – known as Top Innovators – joined the UpLink Innovation Ecosystem in partnership with They will receive targeted support to scale up their ventures.

The World Economic Forum and the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization signed a Collaboration Agreement to enhance efforts in facilitating the energy transition, promoting clean energy development and addressing other related topics.

“Whether it is heat stress, droughts or floods, we are experiencing the effects of extreme weather from climate change. As a leader, you will have to confront the realities and take responsible action,” says Gim Huay Neo, MD of the World Economic Forum.

“For the first time in human history, with the low cost and affordability of technology, the real clean energy future is on the radar. We just need to get the policy right, get the ambition right,” says Hu Min, executive director and founder of the Institute for Global Decarbonization Progress.

“Currently, a dead tree is worth more than a tree that is alive. That is an insane way of valuing the very basis and foundation upon which we as humanity survive and thrive,” says Kitty van der Heijden, deputy executive director: partnerships at UNICEF.

“We are pushing for energy transition here in Dalian. We are advocating for a green way of life,” says Chen Shaowang, mayor of the Dalian Municipal People’s Government.