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Foreign investors' confidence boosted on back of country's opening-up, improved biz environment

Xinhua| Updated: September 14, 2023 L M S


Foreign attendees check an information board at the Serbia booth during the 23rd China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Friday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China's commitment to high-standard opening-up and improved business environment has boosted the confidence of foreign investors attending the just-concluded 23rd China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT), with senior officials reiterating the country's sincerity in facilitating international exchanges and cooperation.

The event kicked off on Sept 8 in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, drawing the participation of companies from 102 countries and regions.

Wang Yong, vice-chairman of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that China will unswervingly promote high-standard opening-up.

Noting that the country is committed to its fundamental national policy of opening to the outside world and pursuing a mutually beneficial strategy of opening-up, Wang stressed that China would further improve the environment for foreign investment and firmly safeguard the multilateral trading regime.

Among those attending CIFIT is ABB, a world-leading electrification and automation company. It has invested approximately 19 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) in China over the past 31 years, expanding its operations to encompass research, manufacturing, sales and engineering services in 700 Chinese cities.

James Zhao, senior vice-president of ABB (China) Ltd, told Xinhua, "China's business environment has been continuously improving over the years." Zhao cited the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect in January 2020, as a significant step in providing a legal framework and better protection for foreign investment.

"China's recent introduction of new policies will surely provide a more equitable business environment," Zhao added.

According to a report released by the Development Research Center of the State Council during CIFIT, China has maintained its position as the world's second-largest recipient of foreign investment since 2017 and remains one of the most attractive investment destinations globally.

In 2022, China's actual use of foreign direct investment reached $189.1 billion, marking an 8 percent year-on-year increase on a comparable basis. The country's share of global FDI rose from 8.2 percent in 2012 to 14.6 percent in 2022.

The report attributed China's success to its proactive alignment with high international standards, continuous optimization of investment policies and the business environment, and persistent expansion of market access.

Saleh Ali Khabti, deputy minister of investment of Saudi Arabia, lauded China's investment environment as "great" and cited the growth of Saudi companies' investments in China as evidence of the improved business environment. He also mentioned the recent increase in investment by Saudi Aramco, the world's second-largest oil company by revenue, in various Chinese regions.

At a CIFIT forum for promoting investment in China, Chen Chunjiang, assistant minister of commerce, met with companies from both home and abroad, pledging greater efforts to enhance opening-up.

He said the country would shorten the negative list and relax restrictions for foreign investment access, and increase the openness of the modern service industry.

China will also increase policy support for foreign investment, improve services and guarantees for foreign-funded enterprises, and strengthen protection of the rights and interests of foreign investors, Chen added.

"With China stepping up efforts to stabilize foreign investment and promote consumption, events like CIFIT provide us with golden platforms, allowing us to engage in deeper communications with the Chinese government and create favorable opportunities," Lu Haiqing, chief corporate affairs and strategic relations officer of IHG Greater China, told Xinhua.

As one of the first multinational hotel groups to enter China, the UK-headquartered giant launched 658 hotels across 200 Chinese cities, operating under 12 distinct brands.

Lu highlighted the company's impressive growth trajectory in China, noting, "Every year, we witness the inauguration of approximately 100 new IHG hotels in China, and we currently have 500 more in the pipeline."

He affirmed IHG's commitment to accelerating its expansion in China, particularly in the post-COVID era, as it remains confident in the country's promising economic prospects and continuously improving business landscape.

Lu disclosed that he had directly exchanged ideas with various provincial and city-level government officials. "We offered our insights and received active feedback from the governments," Lu said, adding that the group had secured good opportunities for future development during the exchanges.

When asked about details, Lu responded with a confident smile, stating: "We will provide more details when they are finalized, and some of them are in the second and third-tier cities. We anticipate swift progress in the follow-up work."

Why Xiamen

  • About Xiamen

    Xiamen is one of the most economically competitive cities in China and was one of the first Special Economic Zones on the Chinese mainland. As a vice-provincial city independently listed on the State development plan, it has provincial-level authority in economic administration and local legislative power. In 2010, the Xiamen SEZ was expanded to cover the entire municipality. Today, Xiamen is a modern and international port city.

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