Shanghai estimated to have attracted more than $20 b foreign investment in 2020
Nation continues to attract droves of overseas investors
Published: Dec 28, 2020 08:18 PM

Shanghai Photo: VCG

Shanghai city is estimated to have attracted more than $20 billion in foreign investment in 2020, which is a record high, Shanghai officials said on Monday. 

Shanghai has about 60,000 foreign-invested enterprises and the cumulative amount of foreign investment has exceeded $270 billion, according to the city's data.

In the next stage, Shanghai will promote opening-up on a broader scope and at deeper levels, city officials said.

The city will actively promote banking, securities, insurance, futures, trust investment, asset management, credit ratings and other financial sectors, and it will expand opening up in telecommunications, internet, medicine, transportation, culture, education and other fields in an orderly manner, said Hua Yuan, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce. 

Specifically, Shanghai aims to attract additional foreign-funded financial institutions to set up operations in the city, and encourage more foreign-funded financial institutions to solely or jointly set up securities, funds, futures, insurance, pension fund management, investment and consulting companies, according to Ge Ping, Deputy Director of Municipal Local Financial Supervision Bureau.

Shanghai will fully implement the negative list for foreign investment, strengthen protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign companies, and strive to create a better working and living environment for all foreign-invested enterprises, Hua said.

Shanghai is a vivid display of how China, the only major economy in the world to achieve a GDP growth this year despite the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, has grown into a magnet for foreign investment. 

The global pandemic has not stopped US fast-food chain Burger King— whose Chinese headquarters is in Shanghai — from opening up more restaurants in China this year. In the fourth quarter, it opened more than 100 stores across China. 

Foreign enterprises' confidence in the Chinese market remains unshaken, despite the sporadic resurgence of coronavirus cases in some Chinese cities now.

Wei Jianguo, former vice minister of commerce and executive deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, predicted that China's foreign direct investment will expand at a double-digit pace in 2021. 

"The global pandemic has made multinational companies reconsider the stability and resilience of their supply chains. China is not only a consumer market but also an indispensable part of global supply chain. As global uncertainties linger, only investing in China can provide a well-founded guarantee for foreign businessmen," Wei told the Global Times.

Analysts predicted that in 2021, China will announce more encouraging measures to boost foreign investment in sectors including green energy, public health and medicine, technology innovation and financial services, while continuing to trim the negative list for foreign investors. 

Wang Yiwei, a professor at the School of International Relations of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday that China is poised to deepen reforms in its free trade zones to pursue a higher level of opening-up. 

"Some will inch closer to the standard for rules on trade and investment in the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership," Wang said.