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China's Anhui emerges as popular destination for foreign investors

Updated: Jun 3, 2024 Xinhua Print
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The Volkswagen (Anhui) Automotive Company Limited in Hefei, East China's Anhui province. [Photo/VCG]

Once known primarily for its agriculture, East China's Anhui province is becoming a popular destination for foreign investors, thanks to its emerging industries and dynamic scientific innovation.

During an investment promotion campaign held Tuesday in Hefei, capital of Anhui, many attendees expressed their willingness to expand investment and seek cooperation in the inland province.

"By the end of 2022, over 110 British firms had made direct investments in Anhui, with a total investment of $7.77 million in 2022 alone. Several British multinational firms have recognized Anhui's commercial qualities and set up production bases here," said Matthew Burney, British Consul-General in Shanghai, at the event, adding that he is looking forward to seeing more exchanges and cooperation between the UK and Anhui in the future.

In April this year, British banking giant Standard Chartered opened a branch in Hefei, marking the first time in nearly nine years that the bank has established a new provincial branch in China.

"We have closely observed and felt the dynamics and changes of foreign investment in Anhui in recent years, especially in Hefei, where the investment policies and business environment are continually improving," said Kevin Yang, regional general manager of East China of Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited.

Hefei boasts a large technology and research talent pool as the University of Science and Technology of China, one of the most prestigious universities in China, is situated in the city. "With these advantages, Anhui has attracted many foreign-funded enterprises, especially leading manufacturing enterprises, to settle in," Yang added.

The rapid development of emerging industries in Anhui has also unleashed a wave of opportunities for foreign investors.

In April, Volkswagen Group announced an investment of 2.5 billion euros (about $2.71 billion) in expanding its innovation hub in Hefei to increase its pace of innovation in China.

"Over the past decade, Hefei has made huge strides in economic growth and industrial development. It's at the forefront of high-tech industries like new energy vehicles and artificial intelligence. Our vision aligns seamlessly with the local government's perspective on positioning Hefei as a global e-mobility hub," said Erwin Gabardi, CEO of Volkswagen Anhui.

Earlier this month, Magnachip Semiconductor Corporation, a tech firm of the Republic of Korea, opened a subsidiary called Magnachip Technology Company, Ltd. in Hefei to expand the company's display driver integrated circuit and power integrated circuit businesses in China.

Hefei has a well-established semiconductor ecosystem and a robust semiconductor industrial park. The company can enjoy proximity to its current and potential business partners such as BOE and Visionox, according to Young-Joon Kim, CEO of Magnachip Semiconductor Corporation.

Since Anhui launched a campaign themed "Invest in Anhui" in May 2023, 624 new foreign-funded enterprises have settled in Anhui.

The province has also rolled out a slew of measures to attract foreign investors and create a conducive business environment for them. It held over 80 investment promotional activities overseas in 2023 and has published a guide for expats working and living in Anhui this year to ensure a more convenient life for foreigners.

"As China is set to remove all restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector, foreign-funded enterprises will see more opportunities and potential in Anhui," said Sun Donghai, director of the provincial department of commerce.

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