Chinese companies playing key global role

By ZHONG NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-19 08:26
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A visitor to the first China International Supply Chain Expo in Beijing tries a new energy vehicle. [Photo/Xinhua]

Sales openings

Zhang Lijun, senior vice-president of Elkem, an integrated silicone manufacturer based in Norway, said the company is eyeing more sales opportunities in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, Elkem will invest in new capacities and products in China, with new products set to be launched at its plants in Shanghai and Jiangxi province in the first half of next year.

Zhang said these new investments are aimed at providing advanced silicone products for clients in China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce show that foreign direct investment into China's manufacturing industry grew by 1.9 percent year-on-year to 283.44 billion yuan ($39.47 billion) in the first 10 months of this year, while that of high-tech manufacturing rose by 9.5 percent on a yearly basis.

Pan Yuanyuan, an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of World Economics and Politics, said China's commitment to speeding modernization of its industrial system has prompted foreign companies to increase their focus on the nation, even in the face of attempts by the United States government to decouple from critical supply chains.

"This has generated higher-level market demand, indicating substantial market potential," Pan said. "Moreover, China holds a superior position compared to many other Asian economies such as India and Vietnam in areas that include financing, well-developed industrial and supply chains, infrastructure, and innovation capabilities."

Nie Pingxiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that as the global economic landscape stabilizes, foreign investment in China is poised to undergo further refinement, in terms of scale and structure. This evolution is likely to be propelled by ongoing improvements to the nation's business environment, Nie added.

"The increasing visibility of China's substantial market size and well-established industrial chains is expected to propel the optimization of foreign investment trajectories," Nie said, stressing that tech-intensive green products will drive multinational companies' investment direction and China's exports in the coming years.

This trend has transformed long-standing competitors into strategic business partners. One example of this is German automotive giants BMW and Mercedes stating early this month that they will collaborate on developing a charging network in China — the largest market for both companies — as part of their accelerated efforts toward electrification.

The two groups will establish a 50-50 joint venture to run the network, with the aim of establishing at least 1,000 high-power charging stations equipped with some 7,000 charging piles by the end of 2026.

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