Foreign investment rises in first quarter

Huang Yixuan
In spite of the COVID-19 outbreak, paid-in foreign investment in Shanghai continued to grow to a total of US$264.2 billion by the end of March.
Huang Yixuan

Paid-in foreign investment in Shanghai continued to post year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2020 despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

By the end of March, Shanghai had accumulated US$264.2 billion in foreign investment. In the first quarter, the paid-in value of foreign investment topped US$4.67 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent year on year.

"Shanghai is a highland for foreign investment and also a bellwether of foreign investment in China," said Hua Yuan, director of the Shanghai Commission of Commerce.

The city's Party committee and the municipal government held a contract signing ceremony last week, launching projects worth 441.8 billion yuan (US$62.6 billion), among which foreign investment projects had an overall contract value of more than US$16 billion. 

Shanghai also certified a new batch of 21 regional headquarters and 10 research and development centers of multinational enterprises on Wednesday, bringing the cumulative numbers to 730 and 466 respectively, to retain its place as the city with the most regional headquarters and R&D centers on the Chinese mainland.

Last year, foreign investment in Shanghai hit record highs in scale with growth in all three key indicators — a total of 6,800 new foreign investment projects were launched in the city, an increase of 21.5 percent from a year earlier, with the overall contract value and paid-in value of foreign investment reaching US$50.3 billion and US$19 billion, respectively, up 7.1 percent and 10.1 percent.

Services industries with high added value, represented by business services, science and technology services and information services, led the growth, with increases of 11.4 percent , 63.6 percent and 25.4 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, retail sales of consumer goods totaled 1.35 trillion yuan last year, an increase of 6.5 percent year on year. It helped rank Shanghai the top Chinese mainland city in terms of retail sales.

Retail sales in Shanghai rose 41.3 percent in March from February, with the average daily turnover of shopping centers and restaurants rising 35 percent and 29 percent respectively in the past month, making the recovery rate reach 56 percent and 78.1 percent.

Hua said that in terms of stabilizing and promoting consumption, the commerce commission will hold various activities this year to boost consumption and meet the demand suppressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Activities will mainly focus on aspects such as tourism, entertainment, food and beverage services and automobiles, which have been severely affected by the pandemic.  

"We will continue to carry out strict measures for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time keep on optimizing the city's environment for investment, trade, and consumption," Hua said.

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