Delegation flies to Europe to attract investment

A business delegation from Zhejiang province embarked on a trip to Europe on Thursday in the latest bid to boost the province’s attractiveness to international investors.

The delegation, comprised of 18 representatives from provincial, city and county commerce authorities, will travel to Germany and Hungary, among other European countries, in the next 10 days to strengthen two-way investment with Zhejiang.

Part of the “Invest Zhejiang Global Investment Promotion Year” launched in early January, it heralds the 200-plus business delegations planned by the province in 2023 to draw investment.

The European market has huge potential, said Li Yulin, an official with the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce. “Hopefully, the first business delegation in 2023 will set off a wave of such initiatives in Zhejiang to court foreign investment and enhance the confidence of multinational companies to invest and set up shop here.”

For the trip, the delegation will focus on network communications, integrated circuits, intelligent computing, intelligent equipment and a variety of other areas that Zhejiang considers key to its future development.

“These industries are examples of the integrated development of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries, and they are the future of the digital economy.” Li said.

During the journey, members of the delegation will promote the benefits of investing in Zhejiang to European companies, including the province’s continually improving business environment, solid industrial foundation, large market potential and abundance of talented individuals, according to a news release from the provincial commerce department.

“We will introduce Zhejiang in a way that is accessible and understandable to international businesspeople,” said Shi Qiqi, deputy director of the department and head of the delegation. “We aim to pique their interest in investing in Zhejiang.”

At the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in Beijing last December when leaders decided the economic priorities for 2023, it was stressed that China will make a greater effort to attract and make use of foreign capital, widen market access, promote the opening-up of modern service industries and grant foreign-funded enterprises equal treatment.

Delivering the government work report at the annual session of the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Congress on Jan 12, Wang Hao, the provincial governor, said the province will devote “extraordinary” efforts to attracting foreign investment for major projects in 2023, with the use of foreign capital targeted at over $20 billion.

Figures from the provincial commerce department show that Zhejiang’s use of foreign capital was $19.3 billion last year, the fifth-highest amount nationwide.

Meanwhile, the delegation is also expected to bring back valuable information for local companies seeking to invest and develop in Europe.

“The goal of the trip is to bolster two-way investment, focusing on win-win cooperation,” said Shi.

Ultimately, not only will foreign-invested companies come to Zhejiang, but more local companies will be able to invest overseas, Shi added.

In 2022, there were 934 registered overseas companies and institutions in the province, a year-on-year increase of 16.5 percent, while Zhejiang’s outward foreign direct investment expanded to $1.3 billion, a year-on-year increase of 45 percent, according to the provincial commerce department.

In addition, the delegation will hold a number of information sessions and promotional events as well to brief European counterparts and businesses on the latest developments and preparations for the third China-Central and Eastern European Countries Expo.

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