SHENYANG, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- In March 2021, as the shovels broke ground on a factory in the Tiexi District of Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, Kemether, an intelligent solution provider established in Germany, put in motion an ambitious plan to expand its presence in the Chinese market.
Despite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising global uncertainties, the company has seen rapid growth in recent years, offering industrial software development and process development services for auto makers across the globe, including BMW Group, BMW Brilliance and Volkswagen China.
"Liaoning attaches great importance to foreign investment, and the government has released preferential policies and provided an excellent business environment for companies in the fields of advanced technology, high-end equipment and new energy. We have benefited a lot from these moves," said Holger Su, general manager of Kemether Shenyang Co., Ltd.
Su said Kemether opened its Hefei and Suzhou branches, as well as two offices in Shenzhen and Shanghai, in the space of two years.
Liaoning, once the nation's heavy-industry heartland, now serves as a bridgehead for the country's northward opening-up, given its unique location advantages.
Like Kemether, more and more multinationals are betting their future on Liaoning, indicating that the province's years-long drive to advance opening up is yielding significant results.
The China-Germany Equipment Manufacturing Industrial Park is a prime example of Liaoning's consistent opening-up endeavor. Established in 2015, the industrial park is China's first platform for high-end equipment manufacturing cooperation between China and Germany.
So far, a total of 127 foreign-funded companies have entered the industrial park, with 84 companies directly invested by the world's top 500 enterprises. The park has introduced more than 400 projects from industry giants such as BMW Brilliance, FEV and Heraeus, with a total investment of about 320 billion yuan (about 44.63 billion U.S. dollars).
A recent case in point is the launch in July of a specialty light source project operated by Heraeus in Liaoning's capital Shenyang, with a total investment of 100 million yuan.
During the past five years, the province's actual use of foreign investment amounted to 16.47 billion U.S. dollars, with an annual average growth rate of 32 percent, official data shows.
The increasing appeal of the province cannot be separated from the government's support. Liaoning has pledged to provide financial incentives to the newly-introduced foreign investment projects and R&D centers, and granted foreign-invested enterprises access to government procurement markets through fair competition.
The Dalian Area of China (Liaoning) Free Trade Zone, which is located in the coastal city of Dalian, facilitated the processes of enterprise registration and business operation approval, with a four-month reduction in the length of time it takes for enterprises to gain government approval.
The zone also issued guidelines to optimize the business environment, including regularly holding expert forums and seminars to help enterprises better align with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership rules, and strengthening the protection system for enterprises' overseas rights and interests.
"In 2022, the zone's actual utilization of foreign capital was 1.32 billion U.S. dollars, marking a year-on-year increase of 51 percent, and the import and export volume of the area stood at 112.3 billion yuan, accounting for 14 percent of the province's total," said Fu Qiang, deputy director of the zone's administrative committee.
"Enhancing openness in Liaoning has enabled local Chinese enterprises to gain more global perspective and experience," said Li Kai, deputy head of the China Academy of Northeast Revitalization.
Li added that an open Liaoning will also attract more high-quality resources around the world and continue to be the land of opportunity for foreign companies seeking to invest and do business in China. ■