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No need for world to get ‘paralyzed’: Philips CEO

FRANS VAN HOUTEN.jpg

The outlook for the world may be uncertain but that shouldn't mean companies and governments should "get paralyzed," the chief executive of Dutch electronics giant Philips told CNBC.

Speaking from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Wednesday, Royal Philips Electronics chief executive Frans van Houten retained a generally positive outlook, adding that the tech sector would keep doing its bit to contribute to the world economy.

"The world is an uncertain place, and that is concerning, I think it's also the big topic here at Davos, but that doesn't mean that we then should get paralysed," he told CNBC.

"Tech can help population health, make health more accessible, more affordable. Tech can also get people get more included in the economy and contribute and drive growth, and growth and wealth are great contributors to a safer world."


Although Philips' sales took a hit in emerging markets (EM) in the third quarter, mainly due to the decline in China, van Houten reiterated that the tech giant would keep investing in China.

"The better years of great growth are stalling now but it doesn't change the picture that China is a huge market with a huge population and still many unmet needs. I get inspired by the fact that 1.2 billion people have healthcare needs and even though investments today have slowed down, that's a temporary matter," he told CNBC.

Van Houten added that Philips will continue to collaborate with both the Chinese government and its people to develop the tech market in the country.

"I think near term we need to be very cautious and probably tighten the belt and be accepting that growth is at a lower pace, instabilities will cause disruptions, make people even scared about doing business in China but it's a huge market and we have got to be there," said van Houten, to CNBC.

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