'Invest in China' session kicks off in Beijing, with foreign firms giving vote of confidence in Chinese market
Foreign firms give vote of confidence in Chinese market due to support policies
Published: Mar 26, 2024 09:06 PM
“Invest in China” Summit kicks off in Beijing on March 26, 2024. Photo: Tao Mingyang/GT

"Invest in China" Summit kicks off in Beijing on March 26, 2024. Photo: Tao Mingyang/GT

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Beijing municipal government on Tuesday held a special session in Beijing, a sub-activity of the "Invest in China" Summit, as one of the country's efforts to attract more foreign investment. During the session, executives of foreign-funded enterprises including Aramco, Pfizer and AstraZeneca expressed their commitment to continuing to explore the Chinese market, thanks to the country's encouraging support policies.

From the just-concluded China Development Forum (CDF) held in Beijing to the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia in South China's Hainan Province, a series of back-to-back events underscored China's commitment to expanding high-level opening-up and its willingness to welcome more foreign companies to invest in the country.

Under the theme of "New Opening-up in Beijing, New Opportunities for the World," the Beijing event showcased the city's advantages and opportunities for the world, attracting more than 200 participants, including representatives of global multinationals and industry leaders, foreign business associations, corporate representatives from the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions, as well as representatives of overseas Chinese businesspeople.

After learning about interpretations of China's foreign investment policies, participants expressed optimism about China's economic development prospects and willingness to seek further investment opportunities in China to achieve win-win cooperation.

Amin H. Nasser, president and CEO of Aramco, said that the company wants to be a partner of first resort in China's economic development journey, as new opportunities clearly come into focus, as posted on the company's website.

"While our energy partnership is set in stone, we see enormous investment and cooperation opportunities to expand this relationship," Nasser said, enumerating fields like chemicals, greenhouse gas emission reduction technologies and venture capital.

Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said that the opportunities for growth in China's biopharmaceutical industry are always exciting. He was even more encouraged by the statement in the 2024 Government Work Report that the country pledged to improve medical services with a patient-centered approach.

By 2025, Pfizer plans to submit applications for 17 new drugs or indications in China, said Bourla.

"China's economy has developed in recent years very dynamically, and we expect that to continue. So China would be definitely a growth driver for the world economy," Christof Ehrhart, executive vice president of Robert Bosch GmbH, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the event on Tuesday.

China's ongoing opening-up of the market is very encouraging, including practical measures such as shortening the negative list and removing restrictions in the manufacturing sector, Ehrhart said, noting that the company has expanded its output capacity in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and Suzhou in East China's Jiangsu Province.

The Beijing session is part of a broad 24-point action plan to attract foreign investment released by the State Council, the cabinet, on March 19, which outlines various measures including expanding market access in key industries and facilitating cross-border data flows and business travel.

The plan is exciting, especially measures to strengthen the staffing of foreign investment promotion through inter-regional and inter-level cross-departmental transfers, Jerrity Chen, head of the North Asia region of Louis Dreyfus Co (LDC), told the Global Times during the summit on Tuesday.

"As a commodity processing company, LDC has raw materials outside China and product sales in China, which requires joint efforts among multiple departments," said Chen, noting that it can potentially benefit the real needs of foreign investors in China.

The CDF 2024, another event indicating the country's commitment to high-level opening-up and sharing development opportunities, concluded on Monday.

"Many heads of international organizations and representatives of the global business community expressed their high recognition of China's economic development prospects," Lin Jian, a spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on Tuesday.

In addition, a number of executives of the world's top 500 companies had busy business itineraries in China in conjunction with their participation in the forum, and they said that China is the world's manufacturing center, the world's second-largest consumer market, and one of the most innovative frontier markets. They are full of confidence in China's economic development prospects, and are willing to continue to invest in China, Lin noted.

"Their confidence stems from the steady and high-quality development of the Chinese economy, as well as the country's large market, complete industrial system, high-quality human resources, and a first-class business environment that is market-oriented, rules-based and internationalized," Lin said.

In the first two months of 2024, China has seen 7,160 newly established foreign-invested companies, up 34.9 percent from a year earlier and a five-year high, MOFCOM data showed.

Lin emphasized that to walk with China is to walk with opportunities, and to invest in China is to win the future.

China is comprehensively promoting modernization with Chinese characteristics, and it is accelerating the development of new quality productive forces led by innovation, which will bring unlimited market opportunities and incomparably broad development prospects to domestic and foreign investors.

"We welcome enterprises from all over the world to invest in China, take root in China, and continue to write more stories of win-win development," he noted.