Foreigners encouraged to invest in more industries

By HE WEI in Shanghai and OUYANG SHIJIA in Beijing ​China Daily Updated:2020-12-29


Researchers from the Innovative Institute of Nanjing Oncoly Biomedical T-chnology conduct a biopharmaceutical experiment in April. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China is enlarging the scope of investment by foreigners with a revised catalog of industries in which such investment is encouraged, a fresh sign of opening-up and high-quality development resolve.

The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce on Monday released a revised 2020 catalog of industries in which foreign investment is encouraged.

The new edition, set to be effective on Jan 27, has added 127 items from last year's version for a total of 1,235 items both for nationwide implementation as well as a secondary catalog applicable specifically to central and western regions.

The latest edition also favors foreign investment in advanced manufacturing to enhance resilience in industrial and supply chains and in modern services to boost quality in the sector, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Monday.

According to the NDRC, newly added and revised listings of industries also include 5G, blockchain, maintenance of high-end equipment, online education and online health services.

In Shanghai, the city with the highest number of multinational corporations' regional headquarters on the Chinese mainland, local authorities pledged on the same day to open up a host of financial services and service trade areas as the city seeks higher-quality development.

The city's foreign investment this year is expected to exceed $20 billion, a historical high, according to local authorities.

Shanghai will embrace international agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, said Hua Yuan, director of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce. It also is eyeing benchmark initiatives like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership for more advanced opening-up, Hua said.

"China's signing of the RCEP and the targeting of CPTPP offer great opportunities for Shanghai to further open up the service sector," Hua said at a news briefing. "We will make the most of such international rules on investment and trade to advance the service sector."

Specifically, the city will prioritize opening-up in seven financial fields, such as banking, securities and insurance. It also will advance opening-up in an orderly fashion in six areas, including telecom, internet and healthcare, Hua said.

He said the city will conduct trials using the large number of pilot zones, such as the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Lingang Special Area, the Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District and the demonstration zone of the Yangtze River Delta.

"China is the single largest market for Covestro and we regard Shanghai as our home," said Cheng Jie, chief financial officer of German chemical company Covestro in China. The company upgraded its regional headquarters in the Shanghai FTZ to add new functions like R&D and investment this year.

"That's especially true against the backdrop of COVID-19, during which China has become the first market to recover and the key contributor to our group business," she said. "Our success is not possible without the great support from the Shanghai municipal government in opening-up and the improving business environment."

China's use of foreign capital rose by 5.5 percent year-on-year to 98.7 billion yuan ($15.09 billion) in November, the eighth consecutive month of positive FDI growth, the Ministry of Commerce said.

"Under the wave of digitization and new infrastructure, Honeywell aims to better meet the needs of China's industries and consumers," said Zhang Yufeng, president of Honeywell China. "We will seize market opportunities, strengthen local innovation and cooperation, and a to the high-quality development of China's economy while sharing development dividends."