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Overseas high-tech sector eyes West China

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-07 15:50

XI'AN - China's relatively undeveloped western regions have become a magnet for foreign investment in the high-tech sector, thanks to policy incentives, a potential large market and a rich talent pool.

At the ongoing five-day annual Investment and Trade Forum for Cooperation between East and West China in the northwestern city of Xi'an, more than 1,200 foreign investors from 57 countries have been searching for local partners for more than 300 investment projects they have brought. This year, many projects focus on high-tech fields.

"We've seen a growing quantity of foreign capital flowing into a much wider range of industries in west China in the past decade since the country first initiated the 'go west' drive. Foreign enterprises have shifted their focus to high-tech, new energy, energy-saving and environment-friendly industries from infrastructure construction," said Gan Jianyong, of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Xu Zheng, General Electric's vice president for Northwest China, told Xinhua that the company's westward strategy is in line with the ongoing shift in the country's growth pattern.

"We expect to receive policy incentives as the country continues to push forward economic restructuring and industrial gradient transfer from east to west," added Xu.

General Electric signed a contract with China XD Electric Co Ltd on Saturday to establish a joint venture to employ GE technology to produce power transmission equipment.

In July 2012, General Electric set up one of its three worldwide innovation centers in Xi'an to develop lighting, aviation and energy products.

Over $2.9 billion in foreign capital was introduced to Shaanxi last year, up 24.7 percent year-on-year. West China's actual utilized foreign capital reached $9.92 billion in 2012.

Currently, 80 Fortune 500 enterprises have set up branches in the province. Some 243 Fortune 500 enterprises have offices in Southwest China's Sichuan province and more than 200 in Chongqing municipality.

"With ever-improving infrastructure and support services, west China has become a large market waiting for enterprises to explore," according to Seung-Ho Lee, CEO of Korean enterprise ProMECS Co Ltd, which has plans to develop welding robots in the region.

When Samsung Electronics established its memory chip fabrication line in Xi'an in September 2012, its CEO, Kwon Oh-hyum, said Samsung chose to settle in the city in order to be close to its customers.

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