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Shanghai rising magnet for foreign investment

By WANG YING in Shanghai | CHINA DAILY | Updated : 2024-02-29
A view of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

The industrial and financial metropolis of Shanghai showcased its appeal as an ideal foreign investment destination on Tuesday, as 63 foreign investment projects with a combined value of $6.47 billion were signed, along with several multinational corporations' new headquarters, research and development centers getting certified by the municipal government on the same day, sources said.

The new deals cover key sectors including biomedicine, electronic information, automotives, digital economy and green low-carbon, and 26 projects are valued at more than $50 million each, according to local news portal Shanghai Observer.

During Tuesday's ceremony, Shanghai's government also certified 34 regional headquarters of multinational corporations and 17 R&D centers, and announced 10 global partners of foreign investment promotion.

"In 2020, we decided to move our Asian headquarters from Singapore to Shanghai. I think it was a perfect decision considering the business environment that we have in China and specifically in Shanghai," said Frederico Freire Jardim, president of Asia with US-based Kraft Heinz during an interview before the ceremony that certified their Asian headquarters on Tuesday.

Jardim said Kraft Heinz has made a lot of investments in the city, and in the past few years, all the company's business and operations across Asia were managed by the headquarters in Shanghai.

Shanghai's actual use of foreign direct investment exceeded $24 billion in 2023, the fourth year in a row that it has surpassed the $20 billion threshold, said Hua Yuan, vice-mayor of Shanghai, during the city's annual business working conference earlier this month.

Experts attributed the influx of foreign investment to the city's constant efforts in improving the business environment.

On the first working day following the Chinese New Year, which fell on Feb 18 this year, the municipal government announced its seventh edition action plan for creating a first-class international business environment.

Since 2018, the municipal government has optimized its business environment for better facilitating businesses on an annual basis.

Qi Xiaozhai, vice-chairman of the Commerce Economy Association of China, said the optimization of Shanghai's business environment is a result of the efforts made by all divisions of the government.

Qi said that by aligning with the best international standards, the local government has been simplifying procedures for business operations, devising innovative solutions to better support various trades, and responding to multiple requirements in a timely fashion.

"Shanghai has been spearheading a campaign to facilitate enterprises to expand business and continuously offer an environment of openness, impartiality and fairness over the years," said Zhao Guodong, general manager with Panasonic Information Systems (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

Concerning China's strong demand for IT, Zhao said more investment will be made in Shanghai and in China as a whole. "It is worth doing so for us to stay and grow along with this international city."