BUSINESS China moves to boost foreign investment, trade as COVID-19 measures adjusted

BUSINESS

China moves to boost foreign investment, trade as COVID-19 measures adjusted

Xinhua

09:36, December 13, 2022


SHENZHEN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Many localities across China are moving fast to boost foreign trade and investment as the country has adjusted its COVID-19 response to facilitate the orderly recovery of normal life and production.

Videos of Shenzhen's various districts are displayed at the 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, Dec. 9, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua)

Many local governments, particularly those in the country's booming coastal regions, are holding foreign investment promotional activities or arranging charter planes to send business delegations to meet with overseas customers or investors.

Last week, China announced a new set of measures to optimize its COVID-19 response, ranging from allowing home quarantine for mild and asymptomatic cases to reducing nucleic acid tests to make it easier for people to travel and enter public venues.

It is widely thought that China's recalibration of its COVID-19 response and ensuing quick actions will give a solid boost to the world's second-largest economy, which was under pressure this year amid COVID-19 resurgences.

Investment Promotion

Shenzhen, a southern Chinese manufacturing and tech hub, secured a huge amount of investment at a recent investment fair as it strives to boost global investor confidence in its future development.

The metropolis bordering Hong Kong saw contracts for 315 projects, with a total investment of 879 billion yuan (about 126.36 billion U.S. dollars), inked at the 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference on Friday.

The contracts signed at the conference cover the fields of new-generation electronic information, biomedicine and health, as well as the green and low-carbon industry and the marine industry. Global investors include Amazon, Intel and A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Caroline Wu, managing director of Greater China at A.P. Moller-Maersk, said that 50 percent of Maersk's supply chain management business in Greater China area comes from Shenzhen. "Maersk is highly aligned with Shenzhen's development strategy and will continue to increase investment in Shenzhen in the future."

The investment event featured a series of activities, including a number of parallel overseas sessions and industrial investment promotional activities in 16 cities across five continents.

At the Tokyo session, Shenzhen trade officials and the Japan-China Economic Association signed a letter of intent to jointly promote exchange and cooperation between Shenzhen and Japanese businesses in the fields of new energy, energy conservation and environmental protection.

"We once again extend an invitation to global businesspeople: Invest in Shenzhen, build a winning future," said Zhang Feimeng, head of Shenzhen's commerce bureau.

Zhang said Shenzhen would continue to strengthen its protection of foreign investment, improve foreign investment services, and facilitate and deepen investment and cooperation by holding a series of activities, including policy presentations and investment promotions.

"Shenzhen is embracing historic development opportunities and proves to be a hotspot for global investors in China," said James Chang, PwC China's regional economic clusters managing partner.

China remains a hot investment destination for foreign investment, with its huge market, continual opening-up and complete industrial chain.

"Shenzhen is the epitome of the strength, stability, resilience and great potential of China's economy," said Xue Zhandong, president of the Shenzhen Meso-economy Institute.

Business Delegations

Many local governments are also sending business delegations to attend trade fairs and visit old or new clients in major overseas markets, in a bid to boost trade and investment and stimulate the economy.

On Friday, the city of Suzhou in east China's Jiangsu Province chartered a plane to send a business delegation of over 200 people to France and Germany. It was the first such trip from the province to the two countries since the pandemic began.

"It's my first overseas business trip in three years," said Han Lifen, head of the overseas sales department of Kingclean Electric Co., Ltd. in Suzhou. "We rely heavily on exports and had to use video conferences and WeChat to communicate with our overseas clients," Han said, adding that 13 members sent by the company would visit 10 European countries during the trip.

"We expect a lot of surprises during the trip," said Qi Zhenyu, a government official in the trade delegation. "Amid economic and cultural integration, we will continue to witness a more open China sharing development dividends with the world and working together with other countries for win-win results."

Also on Friday, the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu dispatched a 20-member business delegation on a 10-day European trip. It is the second overseas business trip that local authorities have organized this year to bring in more orders and investment.

Zhang Jun, president of Wuxi Zehua Business Co., Ltd., which secured orders totaling 21 million yuan during its first trip to Japan in October, said the company plans to visit an old client in France to secure more orders and discuss the joint construction of a factory in China.

"Going abroad is a must," said Wang Yuanpei, general manager of Wuxi Jiejin Precision Machinery Co., Ltd. "International markets have experienced tremendous changes over the past three years and we are eager to communicate with our clients face-to-face to consolidate our relations."

Wang revealed that the company would discuss an annual purchase order worth 50 million yuan as well as a new 10-million-yuan project with two business partners.

Zheng Yeping, another delegation member and an official of the Xishan Economic and Technological Development Zone in Wuxi, has a full schedule for the European trip. "I will spare no effort to attract more high-quality investment," Zheng said.

"Regaining orders is important, and what is more important is recovering economic confidence and vitality," said Zhang Chunlong, a researcher at the Jiangsu Provincial Academy of Social Sciences. "We need to accelerate domestic and international economic circulation and development."

The next important task is ensuring these export-oriented enterprises can recover to their ideal production levels as soon as possible, with the support of labor recruitment and smooth logistics, Zhang said.

More trips for business delegations are in the works. Authorities in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province, are planning to send a business delegation to attend trade fairs and visit clients overseas.

Sending business delegations overseas will not only help increase export orders, but will also attract more foreign investment to high-tech and high-value-added industries, said Tu Lifeng, a researcher at Suzhou University.

"Their trips are also sending positive signals to global businesses concerning China's continued opening-up, and they will help boost confidence in the Chinese economy," Tu said.

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