July 13, 2024

Advancing Corporate Yields

Pioneering Business Success

Multinationals eye opportunities amid China’s opening-up commitment

A worker is busy at a battery assembly workshop at Panasonic Energy (Wuxi) Co. Ltd. in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province, July 5, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Foreign firms continue to view China as a favored investment destination, driven by the country’s steadfast commitment to opening up and innovation, according to representatives of multinationals at the “Invest In China” Summit 2024 held in Beijing on Tuesday.

The summit, jointly hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Beijing Municipal People’s Government, marks the first signature event of “Invest in China,” a government campaign to attract foreign investment and help foreign companies better understand China’s opportunities.

Attendees of the summit noted that China’s robust economic resilience, fueled by its enormous market potential, burgeoning emerging industries, and high-quality talent pool, instills enduring confidence among foreign companies to continue investing in the country.

“China is now an innovation leader and a nation of engineers, alongside its status as a manufacturing powerhouse and a key consumer market,” said Tetsuro Homma, executive vice president of Panasonic Corporation, at the summit.

Homma emphasized that the country also serves as a “testing ground” for foreign enterprises, given that products thriving in the Chinese market often gain a competitive edge in other markets as well.

To delve deeper into the Chinese market, the Japan-based multinational corporation has unveiled a series of investment plans and established 18 investment bases in China in the past four years. The latest endeavor in expanding its footprint in China involves announcing the construction of a world-class production base for new integrated circuit materials in Suzhou, a city in east China’s Jiangsu Province, on March 21.

As a firm proponent of opening up, China has intensified its efforts to expand access to its markets by streamlining rules, regulations, management practices and standards. These initiatives have reassured foreign investors, according to the participants at the summit.

To further attract foreign investors, China has pledged to fully lift restrictions on foreign investment access in its manufacturing sector this year.

Earlier this month, the country issued an action plan to further attract and utilize foreign investment, proposing 24 measures across five aspects, such as expanding market access, facilitating the flow of innovation factors, as well as better aligning domestic rules with high-standard international economic and trade rules.

According to Mats Harborn, president of Scania China Group, the action plan demonstrates the government’s determination to remain an integral part of the global economy, which bodes well for foreign investors engaging in long-term business in China.

“By providing clarity on many of China’s new laws, the perceived investment risk for foreign investors will decrease,” Harborn said, adding that this will allow the company to prioritize value creation over risk management.

A leading truck maker in the world, Scania has made heavy investments in China, building its third global production hub in the country after Europe and Latin America. According to Harborn, the company’s move to establish supply chains worldwide, particularly in China, has strengthened the company’s resilience against disruptions caused by natural disasters or geopolitical tensions.

Drawn by the improved business environment and vast market potential, more foreign companies are opting to establish their presence in China despite the rising tide of global protectionism. Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed that some 7,160 new foreign-invested firms were set up across China during the first two months of this year, up 34.9 percent year on year, the biggest surge in nearly five years.

Foreign business leaders at the summit also pointed out the huge opportunities arising from China’s pursuit of innovation-driven and green development.

Christof Ehrhart, executive vice president of Robert Bosch GmbH, highlighted China’s determination to sustainable development, noting that it has created greater opportunities for the company to develop relevant technologies in China.

According to Ehrhart, China, partly propelled by its decarbonization goal, has emerged as a leading market in hydrogen technology, particularly in commercial vehicle applications. “There’s even more opportunities for us to develop such technologies that might be part of the solution here in China, for China, but also beyond.”

“We believe in the future of the Chinese market. We’re going to stay here for Chinese customers, and for Chinese companies to be successful on global markets,” Ehrhart added.