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For foreign investors, China proves safest bet

Updated: Feb 19, 2021 China Daily Print
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Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 and the global economic recession, China became the world's top destination for new FDI last year. [Photo/IC]

JINAN-Entrepreneur Yun Hwang-suk from South Korea has just injected $1.5 million of capital into his electronics company in East China's Shandong province.

The new investment will be used for product research and development and the upgrade of the integrated inductor production line for the joint venture in the coastal city of Weihai.

Yun's confidence in the business is well-founded. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the company's sales revenue increased by 100 million yuan (about $15.5 million) to 210 million yuan in 2020.

He attributed the firm's success to local supportive policies and opportunities brought by the Chinese market, noting that supportive policies have covered almost every aspect of life, including housing, medical treatment and schooling of their children.

"Weihai has opened its arms to foreign investors," said Yun.

Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19 and the global economic recession, China became the world's top destination for new foreign direct investment last year, and it has introduced a series of policies to further improve its business environment.

The country bucked the global downtrend and recorded a 4 percent growth in FDI inflows, overtaking the United States as the largest recipient in 2020, a report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in late January showed.

FDI into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 6.2 percent year-on-year to a record high of nearly 1 trillion yuan in 2020, said the Ministry of Commerce. In US dollar terms, the inflow went up 4.5 percent year-on-year to $144.37 billion.

In the provincial capital Jinan, world-renowned forklift manufacturer Kion Group decided to invest 1.34 billion yuan to start a business locally. Construction of the plant started in October 2020, which is expected to produce 40,000 forklifts per year. The first phase of the project will be finished by November this year, with the annual production capacity to reach 26,000 by then.

"China has quickly recovered from the coronavirus, and as one of the fastest-growing markets globally, it plays a key role in our strategy," said Gordon Riske, chief executive officer of the group.

China is making greater efforts to reduce barriers to foreign investment, with more free trade zones established and the Foreign Investment Law passed.

From 2016 to 2020, 17 pilot FTZs were newly set up, bringing the total number in the country to 21. Pilot FTZs will be granted greater autonomy of decision-making.

Large-scale exhibitions like the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services and the third China International Import Expo were also held as scheduled, an indication of China's determination to open up at an even higher level.

Zhan Xiaoning, an official in charge of investment and enterprises at UNCTAD, said China's fast economic recovery and investment facilitation policies played a crucial role in boosting foreign investment.

Although full-year GDP growth figures of major economies are yet to be confirmed for 2020, there is consensus among economists and other experts that China may emerge as the only major economy to have posted growth, with its GDP expanding 2.3 percent to exceed the 100 trillion yuan threshold for the first time.

"While ensuring the strict prevention and control of the pandemic, China has encouraged enterprises to resume work and production, which not only guaranteed the industrial and supply chains of foreign enterprises, but also boosted their confidence to invest in China," said Zhan.

Xinhua

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