21 February 2020
Guangdong aims to play a key role in President Xi Jinping’s economic restructuring agenda. Photo: Bloomberg
Guangdong aims to play a key role in President Xi Jinping’s economic restructuring agenda. Photo: Bloomberg

POLICY WATCH:Guangdong aims to serve as FDI gateway

Guangdong, the nation’s wealthiest region, aims to attract US$75 billion in foreign investment between now and 2015 in a bid to play a key role in President Xi Jinping’s {習近平} economic restructuring agenda.

In line with the new leadership’s focus on boosting domestic consumption as a growth engine, Guangdong wants to ensure that more than 45 percent of overseas capital invested in the province goes to the service industry, according to a document posted on the provincial government website.

Such ambitions make the southern province in direct competition with Shanghai, which inaugurated the country’s first free trade zone in late September to attract foreign investors and serve as a test bed for far-reaching financial reform policies that will be implemented nationwide in the long run.

Which is just as well. Both Guangdong and Shanghai hold special places in Xi’s heart. Xi served briefly as Communist Party secretary of Shanghai in 2007. And it was his father, Xi Zhongxun {習仲勛}, who as Deng Xiaoping {鄧小平}’s close associate oversaw the establishment of a special economic zone in Shenzhen, one of the key cities of Guangdong, in 1980 to serve as a gateway for foreign investment into the country.

In its development blueprint, Guangdong will upgrade both the scale and quality of foreign investment in the province to meet the requirements of economic restructuring and speed up the development of modern industries.

Every year, it will launch more than 100 projects involving Fortune 500 companies, industry flagships and overseas conglomerates, as well as introduce no less than 200 foreign-funded projects worth US$50 million each.

Guangdong will also encourage and support domestic firms seeking to list overseas, and channel foreign capital into the province’s healthcare, elderly care, education, training, financial guarantee and leasing, sport and entertainment industries.

It aims to gradually increase investment from Europe and North America to account for 16 percent of the province’s foreign investment by next year and 20 percent in 2015.

To achieve its targets, Guangdong will establish at least 10 business offices across the world by 2015. These will include key cities in Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

Overseas capital will also enable Guangdong to ramp up the development of less affluent parts of the province, especially those in the northern, eastern and western areas. The local government aims to direct more than 15 percent of foreign investment in the province to these areas by 2015.

It will launch special initiatives to attract more investment into these regions while supporting traditional industries in other parts of the province. It will also focus on overseas Chinese to invest in the province as well as facilitate collaboration with Taiwan-based industries.

Guangdong’s 8.5 percent economic expansion in the first three quarters of 2013 outpaced the nation’s gross domestic product growth thanks to the robust growth of both domestic and overseas markets. Foreign direct investment used by the province amounted to US$17.2 billion, up 3.7 percent from a year earlier.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]



EJ Insight writer