Global companies remain steadfast in their view that increasing investment in China is a smart strategy as its market's appealing consumption power, ongoing industrial upgrade and higher-level opening-up are big confidence boosters, said market watchers and business executives on Friday.
Data released by the Ministry of Commerce showed that foreign direct investment or FDI on the Chinese mainland, in terms of actual use, rose 6 percent year-on-year to 268.44 billion yuan ($39.05 billion) in the first two months of this year.
At the same time, high-tech industries saw a notable FDI increase of 32 percent from the same period last year. Specifically, FDI in high-tech manufacturing soared nearly 69 percent year-on-year, while that in the high-tech services sector surged more than 23 percent on a yearly basis, the ministry said in an online statement on Friday.
To ease the pressure caused by factors ranging from waning global goods demand to geoeconomic shocks, China has accelerated the pace of further releasing its market potential. Multinational corporations have been actively tapping the market trends and speeding up their investment layout, especially in areas like high-end consumption, manufacturing, healthcare and green energy development, said Wang Huiyao, president of the Beijing-based think tank Center for China and Globalization.
"We are optimistic about the Chinese economy's prospects for this year. We expect that the impact of COVID-19 will be behind us at some point during the first quarter of this year, allowing for a rebound in the second quarter," said Jens Eskelund, vice-president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.
Addressing a news conference in Beijing on Monday, Premier Li Qiang said China will further expand opening-up this year in alignment with high-standard international trade rules, and will open its doors wider to the world with a better business environment and services.
To promote high-standard opening-up, the government rolled out a series of policy measures in mid-January to encourage global companies to establish innovation centers in the country, according to information released by the Ministry of Commerce.
Key measures include encouraging foreign-funded research and development centers to conduct fundamental research, allowing them to use reports and data collected by national research programs and strengthening support for infrastructure and operational funding.
Eric Chung, CEO of Nippon Paint China, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Nipsea Group, said the company will start the construction of its new headquarters and Asia-Pacific research and development center in Shanghai later this year, and plans to build a production base in the city in the coming years.
"With China's optimized COVID-19 response, we see that the consumer market has begun to revive, social and economic vitality has been further released, and China's economy has been showing its strong resilience and great potential," he said.
As China continues to press ahead with industrial innovation and promote multilateral trade initiatives, investment from economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations rose 11 percent and 11.8 percent year-on-year, respectively, during the January-February period, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.