Suzhou scales up

By Xinhua—Global Times Source:Xinhua-Global Times Published: 2020/1/7 21:38:41

Ancient Chinese city home to one-third of world's top 500 companies

A view of Suzhou Industrial Park Photo:CNSPhoto

With a history dating back 2,500 years, the ancient eastern Chinese city of Suzhou now thrives with over 400 projects invested by 156 foreign enterprises on the Global Fortune 500 list.

In 2019, the world's top companies, including Honeywell and Emerson Electric, all established branches in the city.

Leica Microsystems, a leading German optical technology and product manufacturer, opened an innovation center in Suzhou Industrial Park last November. The center will develop high-quality smart products for consumer use.

"Suzhou is a vibrant city with a large collection of talents, tech incubators and research institutions, and we hope to rely on its innovation ecosystem to develop innovative digital solutions to serve the broader customer base," said Andreas Hecker, vice president of Leica Microsystems.

"Though higher economic uncertainties now lead to cautious foreign investment for many firms, we are confident about the prospect and huge potential of China's economy," Hecker said.

To promote wider opening-up, the city released a new plan Friday that outlined its blueprint for higher-quality growth with policies in innovative development, industrial upgrading, foreign investment and other areas.

According to the plan, Suzhou will be home to 14,000 high-tech firms by the end of 2022, with 3,000 foreign-invested ones.

In addition to abundant technological resources, Suzhou is also equipped with a complete and efficient supply chain. Ten advanced manufacturing industrial clusters in the city, including electronic information and high-end equipment, have an output value of over 100 billion yuan ($14.34 billion).

"The city's complete industrial chain fully supports the development of foreign companies," said Li Chenchun, deputy general manager of Samsung Electronics Suzhou.

In 1994, the South Korean tech giant was one of the earliest foreign firms to arrive in the city.

"We can find almost all the suppliers we need within 100 km, saving us a lot of time and costs," Li said.

For many international companies investing in Suzhou, a friendly and supportive government with efficient problem-solving abilities is one of the city's biggest attractions.

According to Lan Shaomin, secretary of Suzhou's municipal committee of the Communist Party of China, the city provides targeted support to foreign investors on a case by case approach.

"The government of Suzhou can address our problems overnight after receiving our requests, which is hard to imagine in many other countries," said Oo Ee-Lin, senior vice president of finance and administration of Bosch Automotive Electronics China.

Due to a fair business environment and a series of preferential policies, more talents have settled in the city. So far, about 13,000 foreigners are work in Suzhou. The city has now has more than 4,500 foreign talents.

The city plans to introduce 10,000 high-end talents within three years for its high-quality development, and more than half of them will be from overseas, with the number of top foreign experts exceeding 2,500.

"Suzhou is embracing globalization with growing openness, which will bring us more business opportunities in China," said Yamaguchi Keizo, vice-chairman of the board president of Factory Engineer Department of Panasonic System Networks (Suzhou).


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