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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 09:08, December 29, 2004
Chinese people enjoy better life after 3 years in WTO
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"Common Chinese people have an ever-growing relationship with foreign-funded companies, and our chamber is much busier," said Zheng Weidong, staff of the Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME).

Jin Bosheng, researcher with the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the foreign investment flowing into China has become an important component of the Chinese economy.

"FDI has been integrating with Chinese employment, consuming and service sector since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001," Jin said.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), there are 250 million urban employees in China, 25 million of whom work for foreign-funded companies. The jobs of 80 million Chinese are directly related to foreign trade.

Meanwhile, China's manufacturing ability has been improved thanks to the growing number of foreign-funded factories.

"China has bought more high-end machinery and electronic products from abroad, most of them are of technology intensified, especially in the sector of automobile and home appliance," Zheng said.

In the first 10 months this year, Chinese imports of colored television sets decreased by 40 percent. The value of the sets, however, increased by 73 percent, "which means we are buying high-end televisions," Zheng said.

CCCME figures show that the number of digital video cameras, digital cameras and DVD players imported by China increased 450 percent, 50 percent and 113 percent respectively in the first 10 months this year.

Meanwhile, the import value of those products increased 155 percent, 100 percent and 30 percent respectively.

With the Chinese market has opened wider to the outside, more Chinese people will enjoy a better and more convenient service., he said.

From Dec. 11, foreign companies can carry out retail and distribution business in China without limitation of location.

Restrictions in insurance, securities, banking and finance, tourism, transportation and storage sectors will be eliminated as well.

China has also opened the telecommunication sector to some extent. Foreign funds can set up joint ventures in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing since Dec. 11, with a maximum shareholding of 30 percent and provide services in these cities. Another fourteen cities, such as Shenzhen and Hangzhou will open the service in next year.

In the banking sector, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) and the Beijing branch of the Standard Chartered Bank has been permitted to do RMB business in Beijing earlier this month, becoming the first two foreign banks to get such permission.

According to China's commitment to the WTO, foreign businessmen will be allowed to set up companies for express and road freight in 2005.

Foreign banks will be able to provide all-around banking service to the Chinese citizens, and railway and logistic enterprises with solo foreign funds can be set up by the end of 2006.

"Foreign companies are entrusting us to do market survey on more commodities in 2004, ranging from expensive mobile phones to soap. We have done a good job this year but we will be busier next year," said a young woman working for a Beijing-based consultation company with Hong Kong investment.

A 57-year-old Beijing woman surnamed Wang recently bought food for the upcoming New Year's Day at a Champion Supermarket. "I usually buy vegetables and meat on traditional Chinese food market, " she said. "But the Champion Supermarket is right by my home, and it's more convenient for me to buy daily things there."

Located between the third and forth ring road of Beijing, Champion has a booming business since it entered Beijing seven months ago. Champion, owned by the French chain Carrefour, has opened four stores in Beijing this year.

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