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Overseas firms flock to Chengdu

By Zhuan Ti in Beijing and Li Yu in Chengdu  (China Daily)

15:09, May 31, 2013

Chengdu has been at the forefront of western development, with its economic growth rate being the fastest among all 12 provincial capital cities in central and western areas. [Provided to China Daily]

Multinational companies drawn by its 'can do' spirit, innovative capacity

In December 2012, pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG unveiled its regional headquarters: West China Management Center in Chengdu, its first full-function regional headquarters, to boost its presence and sales in the west.

Western China contributes about 11 percent of Roche's sales in China. The company expects that to grow much more quickly than developed regions in the country, said Luke Miels, regional head of Roche Pharmaceuticals Asia-Pacific.

Roche is seeking to seize the initiative amid a general shortage of medical services and relatively low accessibility to innovative drugs in the western region. It has also joined up with local hospitals and medical institutions to help raise their laboratory testing techniques.

Roche is not alone. Dozens of multinational companies, including IBM and Siemens, have also set up regional offices or moved research and development centers to Chengdu. Chengdu is now home to more than 230 other Fortune Global 500 companies.

The city in June will host the prestigious Global Fortune Forum, which will see several Fortune Global 500 firms and their top brass, along with State and industry leaders.

The word "Chengdu" has often proved to be a tough nut to crack for those who are not too comfortable with speaking Chinese - so much so that Chengdu often ends up being pronounced as "can do". But that is exactly the attitude the city has adopted in the past few years.

It is the steadily increasing foreign direct investment from multinational companies that has propelled the lesser-known Chinese city into the big leagues. It is currently the only inland Chinese city that appears in the 2011 and 2012 Annual Top 10 Best Foreign Investment Strategy Cities in Asia and the Pacific Region lists from FDi - a magazine owned by the UK-based Financial Times.

Industry experts say that Chengdu's success can be best summed up in three words - "China's New Future".

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