TIANJIN, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Foreign enterprises are revving up investment in north China's Tianjin Municipality amid economic and consumption recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
Swiss food giant Nestle launched a new high-end wet canned pet food production line in the city on Friday. It is Nestle's fourth high-end wet pet food production line in the world and the first outside of Europe and the United States.
"We have seen a strong recovery in consumption. The potential of the Chinese market is huge as spending power is increasing and the middle class is growing," said David Zhang, CEO of Nestle Zone Greater China. "We are very confident in investing and developing business in China."
Since 2020, Nestle has increased its investment to a total of more than 1 billion yuan (about 145.3 million U.S. dollars) in Tianjin, extending its pet food product portfolio in China.
SMC (Tianjin) Manufacturing Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's pneumatic component manufacturer SMC Corporation, this year invested 1 billion yuan to build a plant of 150,000 square meters.
"We provide pneumatic components for high-end automation equipment in the field of integrated circuits and semiconductors. In the future, the research and development, product manufacturing and delivery business will be all done by the Tianjin base," said Ma Qinghai, general manager of the company.
After the new plant is put into operation, the annual output value of the Tianjin company is expected to reach 1.5 billion yuan, which will make it SMC's largest base in China, Ma said.
Recovering consumption has also boosted investment in the commercial sector.
Florentia Village, which is one of Tianjin's featured shopping centers and houses more than 300 international brands, acquired robust vitality in consumption this year.
"We welcomed more than one million visitors in January this year, hitting a record high. Merely during the Spring Festival holiday, we welcomed 300,000 people, with a turnover of 160 million yuan," said Howard H. Li, board chairman & CEO of Waitex Group, one of the main investors of the business district.
The company plans to add more than 30 projects with a total investment of over 10 billion yuan this year, he added. In July 2021, Tianjin took the lead in building an international consumption center city.
The booming foreign investment in Tianjin in 2023 echoed multinationals' bullish views on China's economy. China continues to remain a huge magnet for foreign investment at a time when the global economy is struggling with a gloomy outlook.
Over the past five years, the total foreign direct investment (FDI) into Tianjin reached 25.4 billion U.S. dollars, and more than 270 Fortune 500 companies have invested in Tianjin.
In 2021 and 2022, Tianjin's actual use of foreign investment increased by more than 10 percent.
"It shows that foreign enterprises continue to be optimistic about Tianjin and are strengthening their confidence in investing in Tianjin," said Liu Guiping, executive vice mayor of Tianjin.
More broadly, FDI into the Chinese mainland expanded 6.1 percent year on year to 268.44 billion yuan in the first two months of 2023, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, said that as China continues deepening its high-level opening-up and creating a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment, there will be more opportunities for foreign companies and the investment attractiveness will be enhanced further. ■