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Officials: China set to pull in more FDI

Vast market, solid supply chain and supportive policies impress MNCs

By Zhong Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-23 07:26
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Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, shows up as Apple opens its eighth store in Shanghai on Thursday. GAO ERQIANG/CHINA DAILY

China's vast market size and complete supply chain, combined with a series of policies focused on stabilizing the economy and enhancing openness, will further brighten conditions for attracting foreign investment, said government officials and heads of multinational corporations on Friday.

Foreign direct investment in China reached 215.09 billion yuan ($29.75 billion) in the first two months of this year, dropping almost 20 percent year-on-year.

In the same period, the number of newly established foreign-invested enterprises in China reached 7,160, up nearly 35 percent year-on-year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

In terms of scale, China's actual use of FDI reached a record high of 268.44 billion yuan during the January-February period last year. Although the figure fell this year, it still is the third-highest in the past decade, said the head of the ministry's department of foreign investment administration in an online statement.

From a structural perspective, China's high-tech industry saw the establishment of 1,865 new foreign-invested companies in the first two months, up 32 percent year-on-year. The actual use of FDI in this sector was 71.44 billion yuan, accounting for 33 percent of the country's total, up 1.2 percentage points compared to the same period of 2023.

The commerce official said these figures fully demonstrate that as China continues to promote high-quality economic development, FDI is also undergoing continuous transformation and upgrade.

FDI from France, Spain, Australia and Germany in China showed remarkable growth in the first two months, increasing by 586 percent, 399 percent, 144.5 percent and 20 percent, respectively. These figures highlight the varying levels of confidence and interest of different countries in the Chinese market.

During his meeting with a number of MNC heads, including Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc, Ola Kallenius, chairman of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, and Enrique Lores, president and CEO of HP Inc, in Beijing on Thursday and Friday, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said that China is committed to fostering high-quality development through high-standard openness and ensuring quality service support for foreign businesses.

China will consistently establish a top-tier business environment characterized by market orientation, legal governance and international standards, said Wang.

Speaking ahead of the 2024 China Development Forum, which will kick off in Beijing on Sunday, the commerce minister stressed that China's comprehensive advancement of Chinese modernization, along with its focus on developing new quality productive forces and promoting the high-end, intelligent and green development of industries, will provide global companies with expanded growth opportunities.

Underscoring the unwavering commitment of Mercedes-Benz to the development of electric vehicles, Kallenius asserted that the German automaker is dedicated to substantially increasing its investments in China.

"Protectionism is a wrong path. Market openness, on the other hand, leads to healthy competition, which catalyzes the expansion and advancement of the industry," he said, adding that Mercedes-Benz is keen on fortifying its partnership with the Chinese automotive industry, playing a proactive role in dismantling trade barriers and ensuring a level playing field for fair competition.

Expressing similar views, Lores from HP Inc said China has already become an important part of HP's global supply chain. The US company is confident in the prospects of China's economic growth and is willing to continue investing in China.

Eager to further boost its openness, China released the national version and pilot free trade zone version of the negative lists for cross-border trade in services on Friday. They will take effect on April 21.

The establishment of a negative list management system for cross-border trade in services is an important initiative by China to align itself with international high-standard economic and trade rules and advance institutional openness, said the Ministry of Commerce in another statement released on Friday.

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