Shanghai is dedicated to further opening up and improving the city’s business environment to create valuable references for others and its own future.
Such efforts and achievements will be shared at the Invest in China Year Summit & Shanghai City Promotion, a high-level forum organized by the Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai government during the China International Import Expo.
Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng has reiterated that Shanghai has pledged to enhance its business environment and attract more foreign investors.
“We will utilize the World Bank’s new business environment assessment system as a guide, deepening benchmark reforms and implementing key measures to facilitate the continuous improvement of Shanghai’s business environment,” Gong said at the recent meeting of International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council, which served as a global-level think tank for the city of Shanghai.
Foreign businesses in Shanghai have always been a significant contributing factor to the city’s economic success.
The city witnessed the establishment of 4,321 new foreign-invested enterprises in the first nine months, indicating a remarkable increase of 35.8 percent compared with the same period of last year.
The actual utilization of foreign investment reached US$18.67 billion, while 49 regional headquarters and 20 foreign-funded R&D centers were established, bringing the cumulative numbers to 940 and 551.
A bridgehead for investment
The active participation of foreign businesses in the CIIE is a good reflection of Shanghai’s efforts and achievements.
FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) giant Unilever is one of the founding members of the CIIE exhibitors’ alliance, and is “fully” dedicated as it takes part in each of the CIIEs since the event’s inauguration.
“The CIIE serves as a window for China to construct a new development pattern,” said Qu Wei, CEO of Unilever China.
“It is also a platform to promote high-level opening up. The event has become a global public platform shared by all, and complements the Belt and Road Initiative.
He said Unilever, which is at the CIIE for the sixth time this year, has strong confidence in the expo’s lasting impact, derived from the long-term confidence in China and Shanghai.
“We will continue to root ourselves in Shanghai and deeply cultivate China, setting an example for achieving sustainable and high-quality growth in our global business,” Qu said.
Among the first batch of foreign investors, Unilever is celebrating its 100th anniversary of entry into the Chinese market. It established the largest soap factory of the Far East in Shanghai 100 years ago. And today, Shanghai is considered a strategic “bridgehead” for the North Asian region by Unilever.
Qu said Shanghai’s attraction lies in its investment-friendly business environment, a high-standard market system, as well as the city leaders’ vision and their down-to-earth practice in serving investors.
“In the next 100 years, we will continue to provide high-quality products and services to Chinese consumers,” Qu said.
French tire and mobility company Michelin is also an avid supporter of CIIE, having exhibited since 2020.
“We will create a ‘Michelin Circuit Park’ at this year’s CIIE, focusing on sustainable innovation and bringing new technology, business and experience, especially in the realm of sustainable mobility solutions,” said Ye Fei, president and CEO of Michelin China.
Michelin has had presence in Shanghai for more than 20 years and its investment portfolio continues to expand.
In 2001, Michelin (China) Investment Co Ltd was established in Shanghai, which was recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce as the regional headquarters and kick started the fast growth of Michelin in China.
Ye said for Michelin Group, Michelin China has undertaken valuable roles to help it achieve its long-term sustainable development goals. It served as a stable profit contributor, an important service center, a model for green and intelligent manufacturing, an innovative talent cultivator and a promoter of sustainable philosophy.
In 2020, Michelin’s factory in Shanghai was recognized as a city’s benchmark for green and intelligent manufacturing.
“In the future, Michelin will continue to root itself in Shanghai, and its commitment to long-term investment and development in China remains unchanged,” Ye said.
Switzerland-based SGS has also attended the CIIEs in the past few years and will continue to be an active participant.
As a third-party agency for testing, inspection and certification, SGS can make an important contribution to improve the business environment via professional services to guarantee market fairness.
It has showcased solutions to test smart machines at the first CIIE; 5G equipment at the second; ventilator, 3D face mask testing machine and food tracing system at the third; AR/VR testing sets; and carbon management system at the fourth CIIE.
“Only exhibitors who have personally attended the CIIE can feel the inclusiveness of this platform,” said Hao Jinyu, president of SGS China.
“The many years of CIIE journey have allowed us to feel the friendliness and vitality of the Chinese market, and have further strengthened our determination to continue investing and deepening our businesses here,” Hao said.
At present, SGS has a total of 16,000 employees in China, distributed in more than 90 branches and over 200 laboratories.