The record-breaking investment deals sealed at Shenzhen's global investment promotion event showed global investor confidence in the Guangdong province metropolis, but experts urged more efforts to enhance standards and efficiency of services to further improve the city's business environment.
The 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference held on Friday saw the signing of a total of 315 projects, with an intended investment amount reaching 879 billion yuan ($126 billion). The projects cover a wide range of fields, including new-generation electronic information, digitalization and fashion, green and low-carbon industry, biomedicine and health, marine industry, modern services and finance.
Hu Jianhua, general manager of China Merchants Group, said as a pioneer in the country's reform and opening-up over the past four decades, Shenzhen has created a market-based, law-based and international business environment with a number of innovative measures. The city also boasts a batch of innovative enterprises with international influence and a deep pool of innovative talent.
These factors give investors confidence in Shenzhen, Hu said.
The group has increased its investment in Shenzhen in recent years, including the building of the first smart port in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Last year, total operating revenue and net profit of Shenzhen-based enterprises affiliated with the group accounted for 38.47 percent and 52.55 percent of the group's total, respectively.
"The successful investment cases of CMG in Shenzhen fully demonstrate that the city is currently in a golden period of development," he said.
Caroline Wu, managing director of China unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, a Danish shipping and logistics services provider, said the company is highly aligned with Shenzhen's development strategy and it will continue to increase investment in the city.
"We plan to invest in the construction of Yantian Comprehensive Bonded Zone and build an omnichannel, intelligent and green fulfillment center here, providing services to the whole Asia-Pacific region," Wu said.
According to official statistics, Shenzhen's actual use of foreign capital amounted to $9.2 billion in the first 10 months, growing 4.3 percent year-on-year. The high-tech industry was the biggest contributor at $3.8 billion, accounting for 41.1 percent of the city's total.
James Chang, PwC China regional economic clusters managing partner, said Shenzhen — which is embracing historical development opportunities amid national support to build it into a pilot demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics — is a place foreign investors cannot ignore.
Global competitiveness of the city's strategic emerging industries will further be enhanced, which will fuel high-quality development of both the economy and society, Chang said.
Qu Jian, vice-president of Shenzhen-based think tank China Development Institute, said that while Shenzhen's economy has traditionally been driven mainly by labor-intensive and capital-intensive industries, it is now increasingly fueled by technological innovation.
With the change of growth drivers, Shenzhen could expect a new round of growth. But it needs to enhance its standards and efficiency of services to further improve its business environment so as to stand in a more competitive position globally in attracting investment, Qu said.