China will remain a strategic priority market for multinational corporations as its steady progress in opening-up, dynamic domestic market and innovation strength are able to create long-term financial returns, said the country's top foreign trade and investment promotion agency on Tuesday.
Over 90 percent of foreign companies are reported to be satisfied with their access to business premises and taxation in the Chinese market in the fourth quarter of 2022, while 9.78 percent of them expanded investment in the country, according to a business environment survey released by the Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, or the CCPIT.
About 51.59 percent of foreign companies indicated that the source of funding for their additional investment in China was profit reinvestment, the study found.
In addition to continuously removing market barriers for foreign-funded enterprises, China has taken multiple measures to help ease the pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other external factors, said Yang Fan, a spokeswoman for the CCPIT.
Addressing a news conference in Beijing, she said that these actions have boosted the confidence of foreign companies operating in the country.
Many multinationals said that China's latest move to further open its market to foreign investment in the manufacturing sector will contribute to high-quality growth, and ensure the stability and security of global industrial and supply chains, according to the survey.
Under this policy, China will encourage foreign investment in research and development, design and modern logistics in the services industry, as well as in innovation and applications related to new energy, green and low-carbon technologies.
Yan Jinping, chief operating officer for the China unit of Air Liquide SA, a French industrial and medical gas supplier with 120 plants across China, said the company will look at opportunities in the field of hydrogen energy in China in 2023.
"For the local hydrogen energy industry, we will further promote the development of the entire industrial chain, actively share our expertise in hydrogen production, transportation and storage technologies, and support new local forces in clean mobility," said Yan.
Air Liquide will also deeply engage in the local supply chain of the electronics industry this year, especially in the Yangtze River Delta region and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, to assist advanced semiconductor manufacturers with required precursors, he said.
DHL Express, a German express service provider, said China's optimized COVID-19 control policies will help facilitate the orderly resumption of China's entry and exit for both foreigners and Chinese citizens. The move will further benefit economic exchanges and trade between China and the rest of the world, injecting new impetus into China's economic recovery.
"Looking ahead, China will serve as a key driver of global economic growth and the Chinese economy will greatly benefit global trade," said Rick Zhang, senior vice-president of commercial at DHL Express China.
After launching a new air route connecting Wuxi, Jiangsu province and Leipzig, Germany in November, DHL Express' latest China gateway went into operation in Wuxi late last month.
Attracted by opportunities in areas such as carbon neutrality, high-end manufacturing and innovation-driven development, the actual use of foreign direct investment on the Chinese mainland expanded 9.9 percent year-on-year to 1.16 trillion yuan ($171.56 billion) during the January-November period of 2022, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
Against the backdrop of overall shrinking external demand and the accelerated restructuring of global industrial and supply chains this year, Yang, from the CCPIT, said the council will provide practical services and make greater efforts to assist China's export-oriented companies to seize more orders and expand sales channels globally.
Apart from organizing domestic exporters to take part in key domestic business exhibitions this year, such as China's first edition of a supply chain-themed expo, Yang said China's facilitation of its companies' participation in overseas exhibitions will quicken, encouraging them to enlarge their presence in developing and emerging markets.
The CCPIT will be prompt in giving the green light for follow-up overseas economic and trade exhibition projects this year, she added.