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Fortune smiles on Chengdu as forum concludes (2)

By Li Fusheng (China Daily)

14:03, June 10, 2013

More progress

Chum said as western China is set to make more rapid progress than in the past decade he hopes his company can get involved in the development of Chengdu and Sichuan province as a whole.

In addition to the high-tech zone, Qionglai, a county-level city under the administration of Chengdu, has also become home to Fortune 500 companies.

On June 7 AkzoNobel unveiled its plans to build a production base in Qionglai's industrial park.

The planned 55,000-square-meter facility is scheduled to be completed in two phases by 2017, according to the Dutch multinational that specializes in paints, coatings and specialty chemicals.

With the investment for phase one totaling 40 million euros ($52.96 million), the facility's annual output for decorative paint is expected to exceed 100 million liters.

The same day French food and beverage giant Danone announced it would increase its investment in its Qionglai project that opened last September.

The move will bring the company's total investment in Chengdu to 600 million yuan, said Gu Peiji, general manager of Danone Asia Pacific Management Co.

With a designed annual capacity of 250,000 tons, the 14.6-hectare plant will produce Mizone and be Danone's largest beverage facility in the Asia-Pacific region.

Other investors include US-headquartered Flextronics, which will set up a center making precision instruments in Chengdu's Shuangliu county, and auto manufacturer Geely, which will establish a production base in the city's economic and technology development zone.

A total of 238 Fortune Global 500 companies now have branches in Chengdu.

Cheaper labor and booming foreign investment are the key strengths for China's western business center, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell said during the forum.

Mundell said the inland economic hub should exploit its comparative strengths to benefit from economic globalization.

"As you move up the ladder to more high-tech and capital-intensive products, foreign investment will be a big part," he said, adding that foreign investment simultaneously brings capital, technology and market access.

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