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Companies praise efforts of district in response to pandemic

By Wang Hongyi | China Daily Global | Updated:Aug 31, 2020


Mars Wrigley China's Songjiang plant receives strong government support after the outbreak of COVID-19. CHINA DAILY

A good business environment and strong government support in Songjiang district have strengthened the confidence of multinational companies for further development.

"In recent years, Shanghai has launched a series of policies to encourage multinational companies to set up regional headquarters," said Wallace Bie, head of Marketing APAC at Comau (Shanghai) Engineering, which is located in Sijing Industrial Park in Songjiang. "As a global city, Shanghai is becoming increasingly attractive to the multinational corporations."

Headquartered in Italy, Comau is a developer and supplier of automation systems and products. It entered the Chinese market in 1997.

Comau established its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Songjiang at the beginning of 2020.

"With the establishment of the Asia-Pacific headquarters, the overall operation of Comau (Shanghai) Engineering will make a qualitative leap," Bie said. "We expect that there will be some growth in employment, sales revenue and tax revenue in the next few years."

The main supplies of Comau in Shanghai are industrial automation systems and robots. So far, it has more than 800 employees, including more than 400 research and development professionals.

During the past 20 years, more than 200 Comau-branded automatic production lines have been delivered to Chinese automotive customers, Bie said, and the company has made great contributions to the development of China's automotive industry.

"Local government has strongly supported Comau's development over the years. The superior business environment in the city is very conducive to the development and growth of the headquarters of multinational corporations. In the future, Comau will take root in Shanghai, serve the Asia-Pacific region and create brilliance again," he said.

The outbreak of COVID-19 affected many industries, and a great number of enterprises were forced to suspend production.

Differing from other enterprises that remain on the sidelines, Toppan Leefung Packaging (Shanghai), located in the Songjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone, decided to increase investment by $30 million to expand production when it resumed work in February.

"In 2019, we already had an investment plan for a medical packaging product production site in Songjiang," said Jason Dai, general manager of Toppan Leefung Packaging (Shanghai). "The preferential foreign investment policies and business environment of Songjiang made us confident to move forward with our vision for the future."

Dai said business management became more difficult than usual due to the pandemic. However, things became easier with strong government support.

"In the process of applying for work resumption, the staff members of the Songjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone tried their best to solve problems," he said. "Their sincere service and efficient workflow strengthened our confidence again."

Dai added that new investment will be used in the expansion of 30,000 square meters of plant and supporting facilities.


Toppan Leefung Packaging (Shanghai), which produces packaging for many leading brands, plans to further increase investment in Shanghai. CHINA DAILY

Headquartered in Japan, Toppan has been in Songjiang for nearly two decades. Its products include packaging for pharmaceuticals, pet food and electronics.

At present, 50 percent of the company's employees have returned to work. The company's production capacity has recovered by 50 percent.

"We are gradually resuming production while keeping an eye on epidemic prevention and control, and strictly implementing prevention measures," Dai said.

Management at confectionery and chewing gum producer Mars Wrigley China also expressed its satisfaction with the quality of service from Songjiang authorities.

"After the outbreak of COVID-19, staff members at the Songjiang Economic and Technology Development Zone contacted us immediately to learn about difficulties we faced and promised to provide help," said Fabio Luis Alves Da Silva, senior factory director at Mars Wrigley China's Songjiang plant. "We have frequent and smooth communication with local authorities even in ordinary times. They've set up a communication group on WeChat, which allows us to understand various preferential policies for companies, and this is a very useful for us."

The Songjiang plant in Shanghai is one of the five Mars Wrigley plants in China. It has been in Songjiang for more than 10 years.

"The plant in Songjiang has a good location with strong infrastructure," said Silva. "At the same time, it's easier to attract talents here, which allows us to achieve stable development."

With years of development in China, the confectionery and chewing gum producer is looking for more growth to adapt to the new needs of the market, he said.

In addition to introducing new brands in China, Mars Wrigley is also enhancing its digital connectivity with local consumers and strengthening innovation.

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