Friday, October 02, 2020

Foreign funds flow into Shanghai as investors show confidence in China

Aug 20. 2019
A visitor checks out a Peugeot 508SW at an auto expo in Shanghai. (Photo by Wang Qiming /China Daily)
A visitor checks out a Peugeot 508SW at an auto expo in Shanghai. (Photo by Wang Qiming /China Daily)
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More foreigners are investing in Shanghai, which is seen as a solid vote of confidence to the potential of China’s market and its further opening despite global economic uncertainties.

The country’s financial and business centre reported an actual use of foreign investment worth US$11.45 billion (Bt352.8 billion) from January to July, marking a 13.8 per cent rise year-on-year, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce said.

During the first half, up to 4,105 foreign-funded projects were established, up 58.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The new policies pledge more free capital flows and intellectual property rights protection for the regional headquarters of multinational corporations, said Yang Chao, deputy director of the municipal commission of commerce.

“Facing external uncertainties, China has been opening to the outside world to increase its resilience to risks and to shoulder its responsibility as a major country,” said Wang Xiaosong, a research fellow with the National Academy of Development and Strategy under Renmin University of China.

Covestro, a global chemicals giant that has been in China for nearly 20 years, is planning to upgrade its China headquarters in Shanghai into its Asia-Pacific headquarters.

Holly Lei, president of Covestro China, said after this, the company will be able to better coordinate its global resources to grow together with China. 

China is Covestro’s biggest single market and Shanghai is home to its largest plant while housing its Asia-Pacific innovation centre, said Lei.

Covestro is not alone in terms of expanding its business ambitions in the world’s second-largest economy.

French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen also plans to set up a regional procurement centre in Shanghai, while German chemicals giant BASF has upped its investment to upgrade its innovation centre in the city after investing in a $10-billion production facility in Zhanjiang. Shanghai is also home to Tesla’s gigafactory, which is under construction with an investment of over $7.1 billion.

Investments from the European Union, Singapore, Japan and countries included in the Belt and Road Initiative all grew at double-digit rates in the first half and the investment structure is being optimised, said Hua Yuan, director of the municipal commission of commerce.

The high-tech service industry reported an actual use of foreign investment worth $1.7 billion in the first six months, posting a hefty annual growth of 29.6 per cent, said Hua.

A series of opening-up measures in multiple fields and industries and the improving business environment has ramped up foreign investment interests in China.

In June, China rolled out revised negative lists for foreign investment market access, allowing foreign investors to run majority-share or wholly-owned businesses in several sectors.

China expanded the Shanghai free trade zone this month by building the new Lingang area into a special economic zone that is competitive and globally influential.

Shanghai has also rolled out a series of policies to further open the service industry to foreign investors and promote the development of regional headquarters of multinational corporations.

“The status as a special economic function zone means it is not adding more facilities, but moving toward real investment and trade liberalisation,” said Shen Yuliang, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

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