Foreign investors upbeat about China

Foreign investors hold stable expectations of Chinese market
Chinese and German technicians test products together at Joma Polytec Plastic Parts (Kunshan) Co., Ltd. in German Industrial Park located in Kunshan, east China’s Jiangsu province, August 3. (Photo by Hua Xuegen/People’s Daily Online)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded by 15.8 percent year on year in July, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

Foreign investors’ expectations of and confidence in the Chinese market have been stable while signaling sound momentum of growth, suggested the data.

Against the backdrop of the globally spreading COVID-19 epidemic and gloomy transnational investment, the performance of FDI inflow in July was particularly precious.

The great growth in actually utilized FDI in China couldn’t have been realized without the strong resilience and huge potential of the Chinese economy.

“We will further increase our investment in China and open more stores steadily. We will do all we can to bring the number of our stores in China to over 3,000 by the end of 2020,” said Zhang Sheng, vice president of Lawson (China) Holdings Inc.

Due to the epidemic, Lawson stores in some office buildings and scenic spots have seen a decrease in their passenger flow, yet sales in stores located in communities have still grown rapidly, Zhang disclosed.

“With the store being located 100 meters away from my home, I can now buy daily necessities conveniently,” said Huang He, a resident in Yuzhong district, southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, while waiting in a line for payment before the checkout counter of a newly opened Lawson store.

Three stores of the Japanese convenience store chain were opened in Chongqing on July 15 alone.

At present, the Chinese economy is showing a steady recovery, with the decline in total retail sales of consumer goods narrowing significantly while online retail sales of physical goods growing at a relatively fast pace.

China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 51.1 in July, which, while being 0.2 percentage points higher than that in the previous month, indicated that the result has remained above the critical 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the fifth consecutive month.

As facts have shown, China is still an appealing investment destination, and the country’s efforts to promote all-round opening-up have made it more attractive to foreign investors.

AstraZeneca Plc, a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company, has recently put into operation an international life science innovation campus in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu province.

AstraZeneca (Wuxi) International Life Science Innovation Campus, the innovation campus, which was jointly established by AstraZeneca, the Wuxi municipal government and Wuxi National Hi-Tech District, has attracted 17 domestic and foreign companies including Japanese electronics manufacturer Omron Corporation.

China has been committed to opening its door wider to the world, which generates new opportunities and platforms for the development and innovation of foreign enterprises, according to Leon Wang, executive vice-president, international and China president with AstraZeneca.

The company will continue to cultivate the Chinese market, and create an open and innovative health ecosystem, Wang noted, adding that AstraZeneca will build regional characteristic innovation centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu and other cities of China.

Since the beginning of this year, China has continued to show its strong determination to adhere to opening-up to the world with practical actions.

The country has promoted the construction of the Hainan free trade port, held the China Import and Export Fair online and is making preparations for the 3rd China International Import Expo to be held in November.

The more open China has become a good destination for the investment and businesses of global companies.

Sixty-five percent of the surveyed members of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) consider China as the most important investment destination or one of the top three destinations for investment in the world, suggested a report released by the EUCCC on June 10.

The country has also continuously improved its business environment to attract more foreign investors.

Thanks to an innovative mode enabling online cross-border transfer of registration documents, some foreign shareholders have registered a company in China without leaving their own country.

According to the vice general manager of the newly established technology company in Suzhou Industrial Park in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, they were really worried about the registration of their company at first, but it turned out that the whole process was handled smoothly.

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, foreign shareholders of the company couldn’t enter China to go through all the formalities to register the company.

After learning about the case, Suzhou Industrial Park immediately contacted the Bank of China Singapore Branch and asked the latter to verify the qualifications of the company’s shareholders. After due communication and examination of relevant application materials, the company got its business license.

China has continuously boosted investment facilitation in the country, further simplified the examination and approval procedures and requirements for enterprises’ production and operation, improved the quality and efficiency of enterprise-related services, and put into effect the foreign investment law and a regulation on optimizing the business environment.

In recent years, the country has made active efforts to create a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment and continuously make it easier for foreign-funded enterprises to invest in China.

In June, China unveiled its 2020 negative list for foreign investment market access and the 2020 negative list for foreign investment in pilot free trade zones.

The number of sectors that are off-limits for foreign investors has been reduced by 17.5 percent to 33 in the 2020 version of the negative list from 40 in the 2019 version.

Meanwhile, the number of prohibited industries in pilot free trade zones has been cut to 30 from 37 by 18.9 percent.