Flagship factories of foreign companies in China indicate country’s optimized structure of foreign investment attraction
By Kong Dechen
China’s actual use of foreign capital in high-tech industries grew 18 percent year on year to 156.71 billion yuan ($22.34 billion) in the first quarter this year.
More and more multinational corporations have invested in Chinese high-tech industries and established their global flagship factories in the country, which mirrored the importance they attach to China and the strength of China’s high-end manufacturing.
In Tesla’s Shanghai plant, electric cars are rolling off production lines one after another for quality check. The two-storey factory, which looks like a mechanical puzzle cube, have long production lines that stretch beyond one’s eyesight. Auto parts there are handled by robotic arms.
Different from this super large plant, the factory of Siemens Energy in Shanghai is smaller and more “delicate.”
The products manufactured in the factory are customized by its clients, with each of them requiring different assembling techniques, which decides that massive production is not an option for the factory, said Zheng Feng, head of the Siemens Energy factory.
Though covering a small area, the factory features fine-tuned and efficient production, and is a world-leading manufacturer of its type, Zheng told People’s Daily.
At present, factories of foreign enterprises in China are marching toward digitalization and fine-tuned production. It indicates higher-quality foreign investment into China and a constantly optimized structure of foreign investment.
“China has become an innovative country and its economic structure is being adjusted rapidly. The developments of new businesses, models and growth drivers are powered by high-tech industries, which promotes the optimization of the structure of foreign investment,” said Zhang Jianping, deputy director of the Academic Steering Committee of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
The fast growth of high-tech industries, especially high-tech manufacturing, not only indicates the huge potential of China’s manufacturing industry and a complete ecosystem of high-tech manufacturing, but also proves that new comparative advantages of China are taking shape, Zhang added.
China’s increasing appeal for foreign investment also comes from the optimization of business environment in the country.
Zhang noted that the Chinese government has issued a series of favorable policies and reform measures, which have created a sound environment for the development of foreign enterprises in China.
According to him, China’s progress in intellectual property right protection and relevant laws and regulations has ensured stable development of foreign enterprises in China, too.
Digitalization, intelligence and greening are features of the flagship factories of foreign companies in China.
An executive of Tesla’s Shanghai plant told People’s Daily that the factory’s automatic production lines are covered by a reliable industrial network, which offers complete online services for equipment automation, wireless connection of production equipment, production data collection, human-machine interaction and smart decision making.
Recently, Siemens High Voltage Switchgear Ltd. Shanghai under Siemens Energy was listed as a green factory by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
“Green factory is one that achieves intensive land use, utilizes environmentally friendly raw materials, adopts clean production, recycles waste materials and relies on low-carbon energy,” said an executive of the switchgear manufacturer.
According to the executive, by developing new solutions of green energy, the factory has established an energy structure in which different types of energy complement each other and thus promoted refined management of energy.
Top-notch foreign-funded projects have been implemented in China this year, as regions across the country have actively launched new measures and policies to attract foreign investment and worked vigorously to better business environment.
A 6-billion yuan aircraft lifecycle service center of Airbus is currently under construction in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province. A drink production base of Thai TCP Group with total investment of about 2 billion yuan has completed about three quarters of construction. Tesla recently announced that it will build an energy-storage mega factory in Shanghai.
Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce noted that over 300 new foreign investment projects have been signed since the outside of this year, involving key sectors such as biomedicine, advanced manufacturing, chemical industry, energy and modern services.