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Optimism prevails as fair presents big opportunities

China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-13 09:09

People visit the 22nd China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, Southeast China's Fujian province, Sept 8, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

XIAMEN-This year's China International Fair for Investment and Trade brims with confidence as it brings together prominent businesses, serving as a unique platform to spawn opportunities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme of the fair, running from Thursday to Sunday in the coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian province, is "Global development: sharing digital opportunities, investing in a green future". It will serve as an effort to boost two-way investment and global economic recovery.

The event will host merchants from over 60 countries and regions attending in-person and virtually, highlighting global enthusiasm for and interest in doing business with China.

Big topics like digital technologies, green investment, the Global Development Initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are on many minds as around 40 relevant conferences and seminars are offered during the four-day event.

Pervasive optimism

Amid headwinds, China has taken solid steps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and stabilize the economy. In turn, the Chinese domestic market remains vibrant and consumption is on track to recover, feeding investor optimism for the foreseeable future.

"Foreign firms benefit from operating in China, and contribute to China at the same time," said Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China.

"What I appreciate is the willingness of the Chinese government to listen to our ideas and thoughts, and incorporate them in the formulation of new policies."

A poll of member companies conducted by the chamber and released in February this year found that foreign companies still had a strong interest in reinvesting in China.

More than 70 percent of 230 companies polled had reinvestment plans for 2022. The percentage of firms with budgeted reinvestment of over $250 million in China increased from 5 percent in 2021 to 10 percent in 2022.

A large number of companies reported a positive overall return on investment (ROI) in China. About three-fifths of the companies considered their ROI in China to be higher than their global ROI, the poll added.

"China's domestic market has grown exponentially despite some difficulties," said Seyedin.

Nine Rivers, a liquor producer, decided to expand its China business as it started to build a single malt whiskey distillery in Longyan, Fujian province, in February. The distillery is expected to start operation in 2023, delivering an annual output of 200 billion yuan ($28.9 billion) and creating numerous jobs.

"The opportunity is huge in China as it is one of the largest consumer markets in the world," said Jay Robertson, CEO of Nine Rivers, during the CIFIT, pointing to easy accessibility to government services.

New opportunities

As the global economy grapples with the persistent pandemic and geopolitical tensions, China has revved up its efforts in emerging fields such as digital trade and green development, offering enticing opportunities for global investors.

Data showed that the scale of China's digital economy soared from 11 trillion yuan in 2012 to 45.5 trillion yuan in 2021, accounting for 39.8 percent of the country's GDP in 2021.

ABB, a global engineering company from Europe, is among numerous companies that have jumped on the bandwagon to tap into more opportunities in China's burgeoning digital market. It has cooperated with Chinese partners in building data centers across the country for 25 years.

James Zhao, president of ABB Electrification China, considers the mega-data project-"east data, west computing"-that was launched in February as an embodiment of China's commitment to developing its digital economy and delivering opportunities to the whole industry.

The fair also saw industry leaders' zeal for the green transition, an ambitious goal that China has long pursued.

A participant in the green transition, Citi China "has been a staunch supporter of green-minded clients as it continues to finance clean energy solutions", said Citi Guangzhou Branch Manager Song Jun.

Citi in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has provided 100 million yuan in loans to a local hydrogen fuel cell producer.

"Industries are embracing the digital and sustainable transition, which has sparked a surge in demand for green and innovative products and low-carbon solutions based on digital technologies," said Wang Jie, vice-president of Schneider Electric and head of its corporate affairs and sustainability development division in China.

China has vowed to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. This target is calling on more enterprises to accelerate the green transition in a bid to enhance future competitiveness, Wang said.

Underlining its decarbonization commitment, Schneider Electric now runs 64 net-zero carbon factories worldwide, with 15 located in China.

In the future, the company will ramp up its efforts to bolster research and development in the Chinese market with a pledge to offer more green and innovative products and solutions to the globe, Wang said.


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