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Firms choose Shanghai for promising future

By YUAN SHENGGAO ( China Daily Global ) 2021-11-09

City leaders share potential at promotion convention

Shanghai will develop opportunities, optimize the business environment and further enhance government service standards with the aim to create a better future for both global investors and its residents, according to senior city officials.

Li Qiang, Party secretary of Shanghai and Gong Zheng, mayor of Shanghai, made the remarks on Saturday while attending the 2021 Shanghai City Promotion Convention, a sideline event of the fourth China International Import Expo, at the Shanghai Tower.

Li said Shanghai is one of the largest economic hubs in China. The city, on the front line of the country's reform and opening-up, features inspiration and creativity, an expanding talent pool, complete industrial chains, a prosperous market, quality and efficient government services and a quality life.

"The city is becoming popular among global investors, professionals and talent and startup operators. Choosing Shanghai means choosing a promising future," Li said.

Gong shared Shanghai's potential in terms of economic development, high-level opening-up, digital transformation, biological city construction, talent pool expansion and its efforts in enhancing the business environment.

In the next few years, Shanghai will continue to strengthen its capacity in international economy, finance, trade, shipping, technological innovation and consumption to support China's economic upgrading and transformation. Shanghai will also take measures to be a central hub for domestic circulation and a strategic link connecting the domestic and international markets, Gong said.

Themed around "Embracing the CIIE, Sharing the Future", the annual promotion event debuted in 2019 during the second CIIE. This year, it was participated in by representatives from international organizations, leading multinational companies, major State-owned enterprises, private companies, consulates in Shanghai and investment promotion agencies.

Zhang Xiangchen, deputy director-general of the World Trade Organization, Marcos Troyjo, president of the New Development Bank, and Jacques Creyssel, chairman of Federation of International Retail Associations, sent online congratulations to the convention. Zhan Xiaoning, director of Investment and Enterprise at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, delivered a keynote speech online.

The Invest Shanghai Initiative, agreed on by investment promotion agencies including the Japan External Trade Organization, also known as JETRO, the Enterprise Singapore, the Canada-China Business Council, the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, the Yangtze River Delta Entrepreneurs Alliance and the China Chain Store&Franchise Association, was signed to support Shanghai luring more foreign investors.

"The Shanghai municipal government has organized 17 roundtables (for us) so far this year" said Kenji Mizuta, chief representative of JETRO Shanghai Office. "I want to give Shanghai's business environment a big thumbs-up."

Mizuta said JETRO has received an increasing number of inquiries about investing in Shanghai, which indicates a high-level of interest in Shanghai from Japan.

"Shanghai plays a leading role within the strategy for the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta," said Clas Neumann, chairman of the board at the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. "According to our survey, more than 70 percent of Germany companies in China have plans to increase investment within the next two years, and most of them will be in Shanghai or the Yangtze River Delta."

Deals for 19 projects, scattered across administrative districts of Shanghai including Jinshan, as well as the Lingang Special Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and the Shanghai Hongqiao International Central Business District, worth 17.8 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) in investments were signed at the convention. The projects are related to industries such as biopharmaceuticals, integrated circuits, artificial intelligence, high-end equipment, new materials and life sciences.

The annual city promotion event has become a window for global companies to look into the city's future and be more efficient in decision-making.

"The promotion event is a great opportunity for us to hear from the government leaders of Shanghai on the future policies. It helps us to be more clear of what kind of investments we can make in the future, what kind of infrastructure will be available in the future for us to continue to invest and grow in the city," said Rajat Agarwal, president of Henkel China.

Wang Lei, executive vice-president of AstraZeneca International, who also acts as the company's China unit president, echoed Agarwal. The pharmaceutical company is participated in the promotion event for the second time since 2020. Wang said the company is willing to learn about Shanghai's developments in the construction of a global innovation center and free trade zone, the city's role in the Yangtze River Delta region, and Pudong New Area's development potential.

Being held for three consecutive years in a row since 2019, the Shanghai City Promotion Convention has generated fruitful results in demonstrating the city's charm and becoming a platform for global investors to learn about Shanghai's past, present and future.

During the first convention, a foreign investment promotion service platform was unveiled as part of the city's efforts to improve its business environment and promote foreign investment.

The city government launched an English version of its one-stop government service platform at the 2020 edition to shorten and simplify offline procedures and provide efficient government services and guidance to global investors.

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