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|Wednesday, September 05, 2001, updated at 07:50(GMT+8)
Multinationals Eye High-Tech Sector in West ChinaMany internationally famous companies have sent representatives to the First China Foreign Company Reinvestment Symposium, which opened Tuesday in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, to exchange ideas on exploring the high-tech market in western China.
Sun Zhenyao, manager of Hewlett-Packard China, said that HP has established business ties with companies in western China to purchase high-tech products. Through the cooperation, a number of Chinese companies have developed international competitiveness.
Sources with the meeting said many multinationals have eyed western China as a source of high-tech talent.
China's strategy to develop the western region has spurred foreign companies to invest in the region, especially in the high- tech sector.
Since 1999, nearly 100 companies listed among the Fortune 500 have set up representative offices or research centers in major cities there. Their business covers a wide of range of sectors including manufacturing of disc packet equipment, software and telecommunications equipment, and research in e-commerce and network technology.
This year, IBM invested 20 million U.S. dollars in setting up the world's largest software development platform in Xi'an. HP invested 68 million yuan to set up an e-commerce technology research center in the city, which will be the largest in western China.
Samsung, Toshiba and Sanyo have teamed up with Changhong, China 's flagship color television producer based in Sichuan Province, to set up a joint lab.
Many cities in western China are strong in education and research. For example, over 7,000 software students with college diplomas or higher degrees graduate in Xi'an every year. There are also hundreds of software companies employing 20,000 professionals.
This is attractive to foreign companies that will bring in investment, provide job opportunities and contribute to the local coffer. More importantly, Chinese companies can learn how to compete with foreign companies, officials in western China said.
An increasing amount of investment has come to western China with the arrival of multinationals and small and mid-sized overseas enterprises. In January this year alone, 742 new foreign- invested enterprises were set up in western China, involving a total contractual overseas investment of 1.91 billion U.S. dollars.
Cheng Andong, governor of Shaanxi, said foreign companies are welcome to invest in the fields of electronic information, software, telecommunications, aviation and space and bio- technology in the province.
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