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Chengdu to take bigger role in western development

By Liu Lu in Beijing and Li Yu (China Daily)

09:58, March 09, 2012

With more foreign investors eyeing Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, the city's mayor has vowed to consolidate its position as the regional hub for absorbing foreign capital and taking a bigger role in China's western development.

Ge Honglin made the remarks at the ongoing sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

"We will seize the opportunity to attract more quality foreign investors to settle down in Chengdu at a time when industries in the east have been migrating inland, driven by rising labor costs and the country's strategy to further open its interior," said the NPC deputy.

He said Chengdu today not only boasts a wealth of tourism resources, such as the home of giant pandas and a pleasant living environment, it also feels proud of its appeal to foreign investors.

By the end of 2011, Chengdu had branches of 207 Fortune 500 companies, including Intel, Texas Instruments and Dell, surpassing the number in all other cities in China's central and western regions, he said.

In 2011 alone, Chengdu attracted foreign investment of $6.55 billion, an increase of 34.9 percent over the previous year. Ge is confident the robust growth momentum will be maintained in the coming years.

"Chengdu's livable environment, convenient traffic network and a large talent pool created by many local colleges and universities all contribute to its attractiveness to foreign investors."

He said the work efficiency of Chengdu government has impressed many foreign investors and encouraged them to choose Chengdu as their investment destination.

"We promised that all the issues reported by foreign investors should be resolved within three months," Ge said. "The comprehensive follow-up services provided by local government convinced them that Chengdu is the right place."

He said the large inflow of foreign investment not only boosts the local economy and provides ample job opportunities, but also introduces advanced business models and technology, which are "vital to the sustainable development of western China".

He said the construction by 2015 of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone, a major modern industrial base for the entire country, will help Chengdu gain more foreign investment in the long run.

"We are striving to make Chengdu an integral part of the Fortune 500 companies' global business network."

As more investors from overseas covet Chengdu, the city has raised its access threshold. Applications from low value-added industries or high-polluting and high energy-consuming enterprises will be denied.

"We particularly welcome environmentally-friendly enterprises engaged in the sectors of advanced manufacturing and high-end hospitality," Ge said.

He also said Chengdu will focus on the establishment of two major industry clusters of electronic information and automobiles in the future.

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