Shanghai's new foreign capital record an 'upbeat sign'
Shanghai used a record $22.55 billion of foreign capital last year, up 11.5 percent year-on-year, Gong Zheng, the city's mayor, told a news conference after the municipal people's congress meeting on Sunday.
"Foreign capital is a very important guarantee of the high-quality development of Shanghai, and last year's record amount was a very strong and upbeat sign," Gong said, adding it was achieved "thanks to our successful containment of COVID-19 and the resilience of the city".
Sixty multinational companies established regional headquarters in Shanghai last year, raising the total to 831, and such companies also set up another 25 regional research and development centers in the city, which now number 506, he said.
"That shows Shanghai is still the destination of choice for foreign investment and multinational companies when they plan supply chains and locate innovation centers," Gong said.
He said the city will reap the opportunities brought by the Regional Comprehensive and Economic Partnership to attract more multinational companies.
Shanghai will implement a new version of a negative list to facilitate trade, continue to open up its service sector for foreign investment and build a world-class business environment, he added.
The Lingang area in the city's Pudong district is among the places where pilot opening-up policies will be implemented, as the central government included it in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
Last year, the industrial output of Lingang hit 255 billion yuan ($40.23 billion), up 70 percent year-on-year, with new energy vehicle manufacturing becoming the area's first 100 billion yuan industry.
Gong said the government will continue to foster three key emerging industries in Lingang-integrated circuits, biomedicine and artificial intelligence-and try to boost the high-end equipment sector so that it also passes the 100 billion yuan threshold.
"With RCEP coming into effect, we will carry out stress tests and risk evaluation for trade and financial opening-up in the area, and benchmark ourselves against the criteria of CPTPP(the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and DEPA (Digital Economy Partnership Agreement)," he said.
The Hongqiao area, in the west of Shanghai, and neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces will become another opening-up gateway for foreign businesses.
With an international airport and a high-speed railway station that are among the busiest in the country, the Hongqiao area links cities in the Yangtze River Delta, the country's economic powerhouse, with the world.
"We will strengthen the Hongqiao area as an international hub for global collaboration, and roll out supporting policies for exhibition, business and transportation," Gong said. "It will make the area a rainbow bridge linking the international and domestic markets."
XING YI in Shanghai