Foreign investment witnesses rapid growth

Li Xinran
Despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, export-oriented Suzhou achieved a GDP of 905 billion yuan in the first half, with its industrial park contributing 129 billion yuan.
Li Xinran

Suzhou Industrial Park reported US$2.07 billion of newly registered foreign capital and actual paid-in foreign capital worth US$1.28 billion in the first half of 2020, a year-on-year increase of 149 percent and 196 percent respectively.

Although the global COVID-19 pandemic has not yet subsided, Suzhou, with its export-oriented economy, made great achievements in the first half. Its total gross domestic product reached 905 billion yuan (US$135 billion), of which the park’s GDP was 129 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent. The growth rate is 1.3 percentage points higher than Suzhou’s average.

At Philips Healthcare (Suzhou) Co Ltd in the park, portable medical equipment and large-scale CT detection equipment are on display, much of which have been used in the fight against the pandemic.

The company was established in the park in 2010. The park’s annual growth of over 14 percent made the company decide to continue to accelerate the introduction of key components.

“We hope to put some key and core competitive parts into production in China, so that we can make full use of the country’s complete supply chain and maintain stable growth of business,” said Mi Minjie, Philips’ senior government affairs manager.

Mi said the company made the decision mainly because “China has not only the largest market, but also its manufacturing capacity is competitive compared with other countries.”

Between January and August, 157 new foreign-funded projects were launched in the park, with registered foreign capital of US$2.74 billion, an increase of 140 percent over the same period of last year. The foreign capital received was US$1.55 billion, with a year-on-year increase of 120 percent, of which the actual paid-in foreign investment in strategic emerging industries accounted for about 65 percent.

On October 9, Innovent Biologics Inc and Eli Lilly and Co said the National Medical Products Administration had granted marketing approval for Halpryza (rituximab injection) in China for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

There are more than 1,500 biomedical enterprises similar to Innovent Biologics in the park. As a platform of incubation and development for the biomedical industry, Suzhou biomedical industrial park, BioBAY, opened in 2007 and has gathered more than 400 biomedical enterprises and nearly 15,000 high-level professionals, forming three major industrial clusters of drug research and development, high-end medical devices and biotechnology.

Foreign investment witnesses rapid growth
Zhao Xuetun

Night view of Suzhou Industrial Park

Suzhou Industrial Park has formed a “two plus three” industrial system. “Two” refers to the two leading industries of new-generation information technology and high-end equipment manufacturing, with 45 regional headquarters and functional organizations of multinational conglomerates.  “Three” refers to the three characteristic industries of biological medicine, nanotechnology application and artificial intelligence, which have maintained an annual increase of more than 30 percent for many years.

From January to September this year, the total output of the three emerging industries exceeded 170 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of more than 20 percent.

The Yangtze River Delta region has 146 national development zones and 320 provincial development zones, with an average of 3.6 national development zones and 7.8 provincial development zones per city.

How to make these parks develop together is the key to the integrated development of the region.

Suzhou Industrial Park was the first comprehensive experimental area for opening-up and innovation in China and a demonstration area for national economic cooperation.

With a total investment of 20 billion yuan, the China-Singapore Jiashan Modern Industrial Park was inaugurated in Jiashan County in Zhejiang’s Jiaxing last year.

A replica of the Suzhou park, it was the first major industrial platform for regional cooperation after the integration of the Yangtze River Delta region became a national strategy. The park is expected to form an intelligent sensor industrial cluster worth 100 billion yuan by 2025.

In Anhui, the Suzhou-Chuzhou Modern Industrial Park also replicated the SIP model, in particular its “Singapore-style” industry and city integration, to partner with Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang in education, health care and culture.

Of the industrial projects it introduced, 70 percent were from the Yangtze River Delta region.

Suzhou Industrial Park began construction of the first national-level overseas investment service demonstration platform in December 2015, and established the Yangtze River Delta Overseas Investment Promotion Center in April 2019 to help domestic enterprises “go global.”

From January to June this year, the overseas investment promotion center completed 27 “go global” projects, assisting enterprises to complete overseas investment of 1.03 billion yuan.

Since the establishment of the overseas investment service demonstration platform, it has helped 309 Chinese enterprises to invest in 53 countries and regions, with a total investment of 10.4 billion yuan. Among them, 148 enterprises have invested in 179 projects in 22 member countries and regions of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Foreign investment witnesses rapid growth

Suzhou Bay in Wujang Distrcit

Meanwhile, the economic performance of Wujiang District in the first three quarters will catch investors’ eyes.

From January to September this year, the industrial investment in Wujiang reached 16.6 billion yuan, up 17.2 percent from a year ago, and the actual use of foreign capital was reported to be US$758 million, nearly 1.3 times from the same period last year.

Since the beginning of this year, 136 key projects of the year have made substantial progress, including an innovation center of BOE Technology Group and a new materials industrial park of Hengli Group. With a total investment of 135 billion yuan, construction on 102 projects has commenced.

In promoting reform and innovation, Wujiang has accelerated the integration and renewal of urban and industrial advantages, explored the path of transformation of existing industries and undertaken the spillover effect of Shanghai’s construction of an international science and technology innovation center.

Moreover, Wujiang is pushing forward 14 key reform tasks.

Wujiang, together with Qingpu District in Shanghai and Jiashan County in Zhejiang Province, is included in an ecological green development demonstration zone.

In terms of strengthening ecological protection, Wujiang has accelerated the promotion of ecological projects such as “beautiful lakes,” “the Grand Canal cultural belt” and “100 mile scenic belt of Taihu Lake.” The number of days with good air quality last year increased by 11.4 percentage points year on year.

At the same time, Wujiang has also accelerated the interconnection of transportation infrastructure and deepened cooperation in education, health care, government affairs, culture and tourism, established a Jiangsu Research Center for the integrated development of fundamental education in the Yangtze River Delta region and jointly built the Shanghai-Wujiang medical and health data sharing information platform, the “cloud link” industry supply and demand platform and a business credit system.

“The construction of the demonstration zone is the firsthand and breakthrough to implement the national strategy of the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region,” said Li Ming, Party secretary of Wujiang.

“Wujiang will take the lead in forming a new development mode and make every effort to be the window of Suzhou and Jiangsu Province,” Li added.

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