Global firms bullish on China’s central region prospects

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - Digital transformation and innovation are key to increase region’s development potential.

China’s central region has remained attractive for foreign investors due to its potential for high-quality development and steps to develop high-end manufacturing and service sectors in recent years, said officials.

Opportunities are also arising from the region’s ongoing moves to build a modern logistics model by connecting with more overseas markets via freight trains and air cargo services, improving education to cultivate talent and using innovation to bolster the economy.

The 11th Central China Investment and Trade Expo was held in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, from May 18 to 20. Overseas and domestic companies signed agreements during the expo to invest 170.45 billion yuan ($24.66 billion) in Jiangxi province alone, to develop businesses in areas such as modern manufacturing, services, logistics, new materials, electronic information, auto parts, new chemicals and special ceramics.

Zhan Xiaoning, director of investment and enterprise of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said at the expo’s opening last week that while China’s new round of reform and opening-up will help attract more foreign direct investment this year, the central region should also take more measures to allow foreign capital to enter its key service sectors such as healthcare and education, as well as encouraging them to set up more innovation facilities in the region.

The central region must be aware that with the rise of the digital economy and its continuous integration with the real economy, new business forms and commercial models are emerging, Zhao said.

Local governments must utilise digital transformation and innovation to increase their development potential, as traditional business factors, such as cheaper labour force and land are no longer able to attract global capital, he said.

Eager to enhance its development capabilities, the Chinese government has supported the central region to build infrastructure for the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, optimise industrial structure and further improve its business environment, said Li Yong, deputy director of Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce.

“Global companies in China no longer need to ship their products away from the manufacturing facilities in the country. Instead they are becoming more inclined to tap growth from the robust domestic market demand,” said Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce.

“The central region benefits from its convenient domestic transportation, largely lowering the logistics cost and money to be spent on market channel expansion,” he said at a news conference in Beijing last month.

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