Standing at the forefront of China's reform and opening up, Shanghai registered record high actual utilization of foreign investment totaling 24 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, remaining a much favored destination for international investments.
The city's gross domestic product (GDP) hit 4.72 trillion yuan (about 664.1 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, up 5 percent year on year, according to the government work report delivered at the annual session of the municipal people's congress.
Last year, Shanghai saw an increase of 65 regional headquarters of multinational companies and 30 foreign-funded research and development centers, bringing the total number to 956 and 561, respectively.
"The data shows that Shanghai's attractiveness to foreign investment has not declined. The city is still regarded as a pioneer and pacesetter of China's reform and opening up by international investors," said Chen Huawen, head of Shanghai's Minhang District and a deputy to the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress.
Dora Liu, deputy CEO of Deloitte China, also a deputy to the municipal legislature, said that as the foreign investment utilization reached a record high, the structure and quality of foreign investment have also been optimized, which echoes with China's high-quality development.
Moderna, a biotech giant from the United States, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization and the Minhang District government in July last year. With an estimated investment of 3.6 billion yuan, the project is one of the largest foreign investments in China's biomedical field.
To facilitate the investment, the district set up a special work team working around the clock to address relating issues. It took the company about only three months to start the construction of its first pharmaceutical plant in China following the signing of the investment agreement.
Allen & Gledhill LLP, one of the leading law firm from Singapore with a history of 120 years, opened its first representative office in China on Wednesday in Shanghai's Pudong District.
The promising market in Shanghai and the welcoming business environment are the key reasons to invest in Shanghai, according to the firm.
"We are looking forward to expanding our business in China and eager to see how we can better serve our clients with this new venture," said Jerry Koh, Managing Partner of Allen & Gledhill LLP, also expressing his confidence on the Lujiazui Financial City, which has advantages including a high level of internationalization and business service.
According to Shanghai's government work report, a new round of reform on business environment with 150 tasks and measures will be carried out this year. It will improve the communication mechanism, upgrade the service for key enterprises and take steps to align with high-standard international economic and trade rules.
"To attract more quality enterprises and businesses from all over the world, we plan to visit more headquarters of international companies abroad this year. We will communicate with their executives face to face, to enhance their confidence of investing and developing their businesses in Shanghai," said Chen, head of Minhang District.