(Photo: China Daily)
City in Shandong province becoming popular destination for companies to make investments
Qingdao has been at the forefront of China's new round of high-level opening-up as it is an important part of multiple national development strategies, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the building of a China-Shanghai Cooperation Organization local economic cooperation demonstration zone.
Thus, the city in East China's Shandong province is becoming a popular destination for companies to make investments.
Official statistics showed that from January to November, fixed asset investment in Qingdao increased by 21.3 percent year-on-year, the fastest growth rate in nearly five years. And about 5,120 investment projects, including 2,709 newly started ones, were under construction in the city during the same period, equivalent to 1.4 times the total number in the whole last year.
The rapid growth of investment highlights the growing confidence of all sectors of society in Qingdao, local officials said.
"We go to a place with great development potential and a big future. Qingdao, with many great opportunities brought there by the national strategies, will surely become a new battlefield for the birth of more 'black horses', " said Niu Wenwen, chairman of the Dark Horse Group, a company offering startup services.
Wu Zheng, chairman and CEO of Sun Seven Stars Investment Group, said Qingdao has a prominent position in China's opening-up policy and boasts broad prospects for development. "We will closely connect with the city's development strategy, integrate our high-quality domestic and foreign resources, and innovate cooperation modes, to help boost the high-quality development of Qingdao," he added.
Zhang Wenzhong, founder of Wumart, one of the biggest retail businesses in China, said his company is willing to "deeply integrate into the construction and development of Qingdao, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in an all-around way and jointly promote the high-quality economic development of northern China".
Since this year, Qingdao has been optimizing its investment structure to let the capital flow to where they should go most.
According to official statistics, from January to October, investment in the city's secondary industry, including the industrial sector and the construction sector, continued to increase with the growth rate reaching 12.7 percent, and investment in the tertiary industry witnessed a growth rate of 18.7 percent, both higher than the national growth rates.
Moreover, the city has made efforts to establish platforms through which different kinds of resources can connect, interact and achieve cross-border integration, according to the local government. "A platform is where various resources converge and collide to have 'chemical reactions', and Qingdao has provided such a platform," said Liu Qingfeng, chairman of iFlytek, an artificial intelligence heavyweight. For example, Qingdao has built a platform for companies to communicate and cooperate, and for the government to attract investment by hosting a series of high-level exhibitions and conferences. They include the Global Health Forum of the Boao Forum for Asia; the Qingdao Multinationals Summit; the Conference on Building a Creative Qingdao; State-owned Enterprises of Qingdao; the China Wealth Forum and the Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit Qingdao Forum.
Visits by SOEs this year, for instance, resulted in the signing of 43 projects with a total investment of 110.2 billion yuan ($15.72 billion).
In addition to building platforms, the city is also focusing on the improvement of the local business environment.
So, it plans to further streamline the administrative approval procedures, reducing time and costs for business owners. The approval time to complete the entire process of a construction project is now shortened to less than 85 days.