Beijing recovery boosts foreign firms' confidence

Updated: Aug 17, 2020 China Daily Print
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Foreign enterprises in Beijing are regaining confidence as the city's work and production resumption continues to accelerate amid further containment of COVID-19, while its economy has rebounded with strong resilience and vitality.

"We highly appreciate the guidance and support we got from the Beijing government and municipal authorities … Thanks to the effective measures taken by China in fighting COVID-19, we are witnessing a strong recovery of its auto market," said Hubertus Troska with Daimler AG.

"We are also fortunate to see a positive sales momentum for our Mercedes-Benz brand in China with a year-on-year growth of 21.6 percent in the second quarter," he said.

In the first six months of the year, Mercedes-Benz delivered more than 346,000 new cars to its customers in China, basically returning to the level of the same period last year, data from the German automaker showed.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, foreign direct investment in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, grew by 8.4 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, a significant rebound from the first quarter (down 10.8 percent), indicating foreign investors' stabilizing expectations and confidence in China's economy. Besides, international enterprises, including Daimler, are seeking a stronger presence in China.

"I'm very confident in the long-term development of the Chinese auto industry and believe that the best times are yet to come," Troska said, adding that Beijing is still a highly attractive business location for international companies. Daimler is committed to further investing and strengthening its local footprint in research and development, and production and purchase, Troska said.

From January to May, 495 new foreign-funded enterprises were set up in the services sector in Beijing, actually using $5.12 billion in direct overseas capital, according to the municipal commerce bureau.

Universal Beijing Resort, a key project in Beijing's Tongzhou district, has seen its construction progress smoothly, and the main structure has been completed. The theme park is expected to open in the first half of next year.

"We quickly resumed construction in the ever-changing epidemic circumstances under the ongoing guidance and support from related government authorities," said Tom Mehrmann, president of the resort.

Mehrmann said he has full confidence in the Chinese economy and the tourism industry, and the total demand for Chinese tourists is significant. Although the short-term impact seems inevitable, it will eventually lead to a dramatic rebound and growth, Mehrmann said.

Data from the Beijing municipal bureau of statistics showed that the city's regional gross domestic product edged down 3.2 percent year-on-year to 1.62 trillion yuan ($232 billion) in the first half of this year. The decline narrowed by 3.4 percentage points compared with that of the first quarter, indicating steady economic recovery of the city.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the enterprises of Swiss tech giant ABB in Beijing have overcome multiple challenges with the help of the municipal government, which sent anti-epidemic materials to the local firms of ABB and helped their supporting enterprises resume production as soon as possible.

"We have been committed to the long-term development in China," said Peter Voser, chairman of the board of directors at ABB Ltd. "ABB will work together with our Chinese customers and partners to further develop the industrial and supply chains."

In order to promote the resumption of work and production at major foreign firms in Beijing and minimize the impact of the epidemic, the city has launched several commercial activities through the internet since May. The activities provided an online platform for local officials to meet leaders of multinational companies. Besides, the overseas side could see real-time videos of production lines of foreign firms in Beijing, thus injecting confidence into their investment plans in China.

The municipal government not only solved the problems of foreign companies in the supply of spare parts and international logistics and transportation but also facilitated executives and their families to return to Beijing.

Last month, Beijing issued an action plan to implement new opening-up measures as part of efforts to open up at a higher level and optimize its business environment.

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