Economic Watch: Foreign investors eye long-term opportunities in China-Xinhua

Economic Watch: Foreign investors eye long-term opportunities in China

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-12 20:18:15

GUANGZHOU, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Since the beginning of this year, Zhao Bingdi, president of Panasonic China, has been on a tight schedule, visiting dozens of cities across China almost every week in search of new opportunities.

"I'm not only looking to expand our existing businesses but also seeking to open up some new markets, like in the central and western regions," Zhao said. "The Chinese market's potential is very large, and it's hard to find another country with such a complete industrial chain in the world."

His latest destination is Guangzhou, a renowned commercial metropolis and home to Panasonic's one and only overseas R&D base for electronics materials.

Zhao is in the south China city to attend the 10th Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference China, joining over 1,000 representatives from 18 countries and regions.

The conference, as a warm-up activity for the upcoming Canton Fair, reflects foreign investors' confidence in further revving up investment in the Chinese market.

"China's economy is very stable and resilient, providing huge development opportunities for foreign-funded enterprises. We firmly believe in and stick to the Chinese market," Zhao said.

It is the first time for German chemical giant BASF to attend the event. "Guangzhou's favorable business environment, open and inclusive atmosphere, friendly talent policies, and diversified allocation of resources provide fertile ground for technological innovation and collaborative creation," said Lou Jianfeng, chairman and president of BASF Greater China.

In recent years, Guangdong has been dedicated to building a competitive ecosystem for unicorns. "Something that stands out for me in Guangzhou and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is that it has a very active start-up ecosystem. You have a lot of policies to support, especially the rapidly growing industries like AI, semiconductors, new energy and biotech," said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, at the conference.

An increasing number of foreign enterprises are choosing Guangzhou as their innovation hub. According to the municipal commerce bureau, in the first two months of 2024, about 1,000 foreign-invested enterprises were established in Guangzhou, an increase of 56.7 percent from the previous year. The actual use of foreign investment relating to new quality productive forces exceeded 6.4 billion yuan (about 902 million U.S. dollars), up 31.5 percent year on year.

Last year, German auto supplier ZF Group opened its fourth R&D center in Guangzhou. Its automotive electronics factory, with a total investment of about 1.4 billion yuan, is also under construction and is expected to be completed in 2024.

China is not only an important production and sales base for ZF, but also a major source of new technology development and business model innovation, noted Renee Wang, executive vice president of ZF Group.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is one of the most open and dynamic regions in China, with the advantages of geographical location, a rich talent pool, and strong economic and industrial foundations, said Frederico Freire Jardim, Asia President of Kraft Heinz.

Kraft Heinz plans to invest another 320 million yuan in China this year in areas including AI, digitalization and green transformation, Jardim noted. "Fostering new quality productive forces is in line with our company strategy. We have already embarked on a journey to transform our facilities in China with cutting-edge technologies," Jardim said.

Panasonic has expanded its electronics material base located in Guangzhou's Huangpu District. Guangzhou offers an excellent environment for developing new quality productive forces, which will promote technological innovation and industrial upgrades, Zhao said.