China issues 24-point action plan to attract foreign investment, facilitate data flows and business travel
Published: Mar 19, 2024 09:39 PM
Lujiazui area in Shanghai Photo:Xinhua

Lujiazui area in Shanghai Photo:Xinhua

China's State Council, the cabinet, has issued a broad plan to attract foreign investment, with targeted measures including expanding market access in the high-tech and financial sectors, facilitating cross-border data flows and promoting international business travel.

The concrete plan shows China's determination for further opening-up and is set to boost the confidence of foreign investors, experts said, refuting Western media outlets' claims of foreign investment retreating from the Chinese market. 

The action plan calls for solidly advancing high-level opening-up and attracting and utilizing foreign investment with greater efforts. It has five sections with 24 measures, which include expanding investment access in high-tech and financial areas, increasing policy and tax support, promoting fair competition, fostering data and business personnel flows, and aligning domestic rules with high-level international trade rules. 

The action plan demonstrates the Chinese government's determination and efforts in attracting foreign investment, which plays a positive role in further promoting high-level opening-up, Wang Peng, an associate researcher at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

It will provide more opportunities for foreign investors to enter and participate in the Chinese market through expanded access and reduce their operating costs, Wang said.

The points mentioned in the action plans aim to improve the operating environment for foreign companies and enhance the cost-efficiency of foreign investment in China, Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Among the highlights, China will support data flows between foreign companies in China and their headquarters, and promote and ensure orderly cross-border flows of data related to research and development, production and sales, according to the action plan. 

Measures supporting data flows between foreign-invested enterprises and their headquarters will enhance global resource utilization, decision-making efficiency and demonstrate China's commitment to data security and privacy, Wang said. 

Efficient investment data transmission helps foreign enterprises in China better exchange views with their headquarters and facilitates investment decisions, Li said.

China will also provide more convenience for foreign nationals to work and live in the country, facilitating their business travel. For foreign enterprise management personnel, technical personnel and their accompanying spouses and minor children, the validity period of visa entry will be extended to two years. 

China will also accelerate the resumption of international flights at key aviation hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province.

Facilitating business personnel exchanges, such as extending visa validity periods and resuming international flights, strengthens cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises and reflects China's openness to international exchanges, Wang added.

The action plan also encourages foreign firms to expand investment in high-tech industries and grants foreign investment certain policy support for participating in key semiconductor, biomedicine and high-end equipment projects. 

Support will be given to foreign-invested enterprises to participate equally in national key research and development programs and other national science and technology programs.  

"China has always been open to global free trade and is willing to provide opportunities in the Chinese market for advanced technologies, rather than hoarding them with a hegemonic mindset. This stands in stark contrast to some other countries," Li said.

China will expand the entry of foreign financial institutions into the banking and insurance sectors, broaden the scope of foreign financial institutions participating in the domestic bond market, and further implement the pilot program for qualified overseas limited partners to invest in China, according to the plan. 

Foreign firms are expanding investment in China thanks to efforts to boost confidence. In January, 4,588 new foreign-invested firms were set up across the country, up 74.4 percent year-on-year, according to official data.

This figure shows that China's door to foreign investment will only continue to open wider. With the sustained growth of the Chinese economy and its expanding market, China will provide more business opportunities and development space for foreign enterprises, Wang said.