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The post coronavirus construction boom: An interview with Wang Liwei, China Development Foundation

19 May 2020

Clare Pearson, International Development Director (Asia), DLA Piper interviews Mr Wang Liwei, CEO of the China Development Foundation on behalf of the RIBA to learn about the opportunities for architects in China post-lockdown.


The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has affected everyone and every country and is changing people’s lifestyle and working environments. It will also change the relationship between countries, of which one big issue would be inter-nation trust.

In the interview, Mr Wang stresses the importance of re-establishing inter-nation trust after the pandemic; and that for trust to flourish, one first needs to understand the other. He advises that people need to travel to China to truly understand the country, to get to know both the people and the places and build trust face-to-face. In China face to face networking is how the real business opportunities are shared.

There will be huge opportunities in China for architects as the government plan to stimulate the economy though building and construction work. Mr Wang advises practices to talk directly to the government and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) who lead on commissions.

Mr Wang believes China will recover quickly and that cities like Shanghai, Beijing are already getting back to normal. Mr Wang advises businesses to research rising provinces like Hainan, Chengdu, Xi’an and other provinces in the west of China which have great potential for development and are open to welcoming international business.

The sectors of future investment post-Covid including healthcare, IT software and new types of construction. Mr Wang predicts that there will be a new construction boom and urges practices to explore visiting China with the help of RIBA, to build relationships and take advantage of these opportunities as soon as they can!

About Mr Wang Liwei

Mr. Wang is one of the “First international entrepreneurs” in China. He worked for a US business in the early 1990s then set up his own Philanthropy magazine ‘Charitarian’ in 2005 with Government license. He specializes in corporate social responsibility and was the first Chinese Executive Director on the British Chamber in China. He set up China Development Charity Foundation in 2015 and set up China Britain Belt and Road Chamber of Commerce in 2020.

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