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Huangpu remains hot spot for foreign investment

By Wang Hongyi | China Daily Global | Updated:Sep 18, 2020

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Visitors watch a spectacular light show on Shanghai's Bund, home to iconic old Western-style buildings such as the old British Consulate and the Shanghai Rowing Club. CHINA DAILY

Companies have faith in district's secure, stable market

Huangpu district in Shanghai remains a sought-after destination for foreign investment, thanks in part to China's swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic and government efforts to improve the business environment, according to a recent survey.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also made foreign-funded enterprises realize that China is a large market, but also the most secure and stable market in the world.

According to the China-Britain Business Council, which surveyed its members, sentiment to invest in China remains strong.

"Shanghai has been the major destination for investment from the United Kingdom for years," said Tom Simpson, the CBBC's managing director. "Many of the UK's leading companies have started operations in Shanghai. A reason for this is the reception British investors receive when they invest here."

According to the CBBC, British investment into Shanghai grew by 228 percent during the first half of 2020.

"Looking ahead we see a growing range of complementary areas for further UK investment activity in Shanghai," Simpson said at the UK-Shanghai Economic Cooperation Dialogue held in August. The event was organized by the Shanghai Commission of Commerce, the Huangpu government and the CBBC.

Financial and professional services, creative industries, and consumer sectors are all major strengths of the British economy while at the same time are recognized as key industries for Huangpu district for example, according to Simpson.

"At the same time we continue to see interest from new entrants looking to establish a presence here. Shanghai is often regarded as the ideal place to start due to its supportive investment environment, local talent pools, and close proximity to many of the world's leading companies," he said.

In the first half of 2020, Huangpu district maintained steady economic growth with its GDP reaching 120.9 billion yuan ($17.7 billion), ranking second in the city. The contracted foreign investment in Huangpu amounted to $796 million, and the actual foreign investment reached $460 million, according to the district.

The number of foreign companies in Huangpu ranked fourth among the city's eight downtown districts, with more than 90 percent wholly foreign owned.

Huangpu is playing a core role in supporting the construction of Shanghai's international trade center. So far, Huangpu boasts 52 regional headquarters of multinational companies, including three newcomers this year. The influence of foreign investment and the headquarters economy are increasing, said Chao Kejian, deputy director of the district.

Chao noted that Huangpu has been continuously upgrading the Bund financial hub, on a par with the Lujiazui financial zone on the opposite side of the Huangpu River. The hub is home to more than 50 foreign-funded financial institutions from 19 countries and regions.

At present, Huangpu is working to deepen the development of the Bund financial hub by expanding the area southward and westward. Focusing on finance, commerce, culture and tourism, the district aims to develop into a center of asset management, capital operation and financial professional services. It plans to build the Bund into a world-class financial and cultural center of Shanghai, according to the district.

In terms of financial services, six out of 14 national-level financial factor markets in Shanghai have settled in Huangpu. The total transaction volume of financial markets in Huangpu district accounts for three quarters of the city's total. There are 650 licensed financial institutions in the region, according to the district.

In terms of professional services, seven of the world's top 30 consulting companies, three of the top five accounting firms and 14 of the world's top 50 shipping businesses have settled in Huangpu.

This year, Huangpu district will hold the world's top financial technology event known as Inclusion.

At the same time, Huangpu is improving its administrative services. It has made a series of efforts to provide legal service guarantees for financial innovation, such as improving the market access system for foreign investment, strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights and the construction of a credit system, improving the service for foreign-funded enterprises, establishing a Shanghai Bund financial arbitration center and Shanghai financial court.

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