Shanghai sees surge in foreign investment, global HQs and R&D

Yao Minji
About 70,000 foreign companies in Shanghai contribute to around a fourth of the city's GDP, one-third of its tax revenue, and nearly two-thirds of its import and export value.
Yao Minji

Shanghai welcomed 16 new regional headquarters of multinational corporations and seven foreign research & development centers in the first quarter of 2023, taking the total of each to 907 and 538, and attesting to the city's continued attraction for foreign investment.

The actual use of foreign investment in the first quarter surged 28.1 percent year on year to US$7.8 billion, according to the city's commission of commerce.

About 70,000 foreign companies operate in Shanghai and contribute to around a fourth of the city's GDP and one-third of its tax revenue. They also account for nearly two-thirds of Shanghai's annual import and export value.

The city has continued to improve its business environment, with its latest action plan released a little over 100 days ago in late January.

The plan sets the direction for the city to improve its business environment and overall manner. It also addressed promoting integration innovation, with specific measures in market access and exit; acquisition of business premises; application and installation of public infrastructure; labor and employment; access to financial services; cross-border trade; tax payment; dealing with commercial disputes; promoting market competition; and bankruptcy processing.

The first quarter of 2023 also saw many multinational executives visiting Shanghai to further explore the city's market potential and discuss partnerships. Local government officials have already met with the top executives of 51 multinational companies this year.

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