Chengdu Report: Multinational magnet for the inland region
Updated: 2014-03-31 15:43
The latest proof that Chengdu is gaining fame with multinationals is its listing as a recommended global investment destination by the Financial Times FDI Altas.
The selection came after the city attracted global attention in 2013 by hosting the Fortune Forum and the World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention.
It was the fourth city nationwide and the first city in western China to hold the forum. Previous hosts were Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.
Fortune's managing director Andrew Serwer said the city embodies China's new trends: rapid economic growth in western regions, the fast urbanization process, and the transition from a production and export economy to one led more by consumption.
Cheaper labor than eastern and coastal cities and booming foreign investment are the key strengths for China's western business center, said Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell during the forum.
Mundell said the inland economic hub should exploit its strengths to benefit from economic globalization .
Statistics show at least 252 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in Chengdu. They started 73 new projects in 2013.
Another 684 overseas companies joined the ranks last year, bringing the total number of foreign companies in the city to 5,833. Their combined registered capital combined was nearly $29 billion.
Analysts said the surge is due to Chengdu's favorable policies and sound business environment.
They predict the city will attract more foreign capital as many multinationals are looking for investment destinations amid world economic slowdown.
Meanwhile, local authorities are speeding up efforts to streamline administrative procedures for investors.
And the provincial government has applied to the State Council to establish a free trade zone in Chengdu after China's first was inaugurated late last year in Shanghai.
A general plan is in the pipeline, said an official with the Chengdu commerce bureau.
"Different from traditional development parks, a free trade zone will help introduce international investment and trade rules," said the official.
He said this measure will reform the way market entry is administered and provide more room for the market to play its role in resource allocation.
By then a large number of items requiring government examination and approval will be slashed, facilitating a shift to services and supervision, he said.
The official said local authorities are thinking of more ways to make the city a magnet for more investors.