Open Governance
Domestic and Foreign Investments Collectively Fuel Sichuan's Competitiveness in Attracting Projects

Artificial Intelligence Innovation and Application Pilot Zone of Chengdu Jinjiang Industrial Development Zone (Photo from Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation) 

According to statistics recently released by the Ministry of Commerce, the actual foreign direct investment (FDI) of Sichuan Province from January to June this year reached 2.027 billion U.S. dollars, up 31.84% year on year and 10.04 percentage points higher than the national average. In terms of domestic investment, from January to June, the actual new investment in industrial projects introduced from other provinces was 446.66 billion yuan, accounting for 63.13% of the annual target, of which the new investment in manufacturing projects accounted for more than half of the total new investment in Sichuan. 

With the aim of attracting major industrialization projects, Sichuan will unite efforts at all levels to make steady headway in all areas. 

Sichuan will March Forward and Aim at Major Industrialization Projects 

In July, the project covering the whole industrial chain of Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Limited was contracted to settle in Sichuan with a total investment of 11 billion yuan, becoming the largest foreign investment project in Sichuan this year.  In the same month, Albemarle Corporation from the United States held the groundbreaking ceremony for the lithium hydroxide battery material project with an annual output of 50,000 tons, which is Albemarle's largest fixed asset investment project in China so far. In this March, the construction of China's largest Red Bull beverage production base started in Sichuan. This is the Red Bull beverage production base with the largest investment scale, the largest number of production lines, and the most intelligent modern facilities settled by Thailand's TCP Group in China. 

In the first half of the year, Sichuan "raced against time" and seized every minute to promote investment, trying to grasp opportunities in crisis. 

On January 13, Sichuan Provincial Conference on Economic Cooperation for the year 2022 was held, which is the earliest systematic work conference held over years. Summing up experience, commending advanced staff and making plans for the next step, Sichuan is determined to attract major industrialization projects by fully launching the "1531" special action and carrying out the "Gathering Chains in Tianfu" action plan, which sounded the "pioneer horn" for realizing the project-attracting goal. 

On May 31, as the 12th Sichuan Provincial Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) just concluded, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation immediately organized the Sichuan-Yangtze River Delta Region Listed Advanced Manufacturing Companies Investment Cooperation Online Promotion Conference, which attracted 20 Fortune 500 companies, top 500 Chinese companies and top 500 private companies, 25 listed companies, many well-known chambers of commerce, associations and institutions with a clear intention to invest or continue investing in 27 projects in Sichuan. The estimated investment topped 74 billion yuan. 

On July 15, the Well-known Chinese and Foreign Enterprises' Visit to Sichuan 2022 came as scheduled. It only took more than ten days from the decision to the launch and the official implementation, making it the session with the shortest preparation time. On the opening day, Sichuan launched 2,062 investment cooperation projects with a total investment of 3.7 trillion yuan to the world, inviting global investors to share development opportunities in Sichuan. 

The "race against time" is more of a working state. Statistics show that in the first seven months, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation, as the major department responsible for investment, received, met with, conducted discussions and negotiations with potential investors 186 times, with an average of 1.3 times a day. The staff from the bureau completed 42 visits and 92 inspections, and held and participated in 74 events. 

The effectiveness of the series of quick and proactive actions are directly reflected in promoting and attracting investment. In the first half of the year, the actual investment in industrial projects introduced from other provinces reached 446.66 billion yuan, and the paid-in foreign direct investment (FDI) of Sichuan reached 2.027 billion U.S. dollars, with a year-on-year increase of 31.84% and 10.04 percentage points higher than the national average. 

Cooperation at All Levels within Sichuan Contributes to the Overall Plan of Investment Attraction

Since this year, investment in Sichuan has continued to rise. Guided by principal officials of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee and the People's Government of Sichuan Province from the overall picture, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation has played a leading role in attracting investment in the province. By deepening the cooperation with municipal (prefectural) investment promotion organs and actively contacting the competent departments of the industry to carry out collaborative investment promotion, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation has completed the "100-day investment attraction campaign" for manufacturing enterprises by season, a series of "Invest in Sichuan" signing and matchmaking events in different places, activities to "Visit Thousands of Enterprises", as well as countless "Special Actions to Serve Foreign Investment". 

In April, 16 projects with a total investment of 37 billion yuan were signed at the special session in Suining, Sichuan, including a number of major projects related to lithium batteries and a 100-billion-cubic-meter natural gas base. In May, 82 major industrial projects with a total investment of 106.693 billion yuan were successfully signed at the special session in Mianyang, Sichuan. This event featured a larger investment volume and a higher industrial level. In June, at the special session of "Invest in Sichuan" held in Ya'an, 31 investment projects with a total investment of 23.38 billion yuan were signed, which covered such areas as advanced materials, energy and chemical industry, and equipment manufacturing. 

"'Investing in Sichuan · Special Session for Cities and Prefectures', which is one of the activities under the theme "Invest in Sichuan", has been successfully held in Suining, Mianyang, Neijiang, Ya'an, and other places, attracting an investment of more than 200 billion yuan," said the relevant head of Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation. Since the beginning of this year, the whole economic cooperation circle in Sichuan has been working together at the provincial, municipal, and county (county-level city and district) levels to focus on the theme of the "Year of Making Breakthroughs in Attracting Major Industrialization Projects". All efforts have been made to focus on "major, strong, new and excellent" industrialization projects so that they can settle down in the province. This special session is an innovative measure taken by Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation to promote project investment, together with cities (prefectures). 

In Mianyang National High-tech Industrial Development Zone, CEC Optics Valley Mianyang Science and Technology Park, covering an area of 33.2 hectares, has entered the countdown to its opening. This intelligent manufacturing park specially designed for supporting the production of leading enterprises in the high-tech zone will introduce and cultivate more than 100 quality small and medium production enterprises in the electronic information industrial chain around leading enterprises such as Changhong, BOE Technology Group, and Jezetek. 

"Downstream enterprises can produce products that are needed by enterprises on the industrial chain. This kind of order-based production will make the whole industrial chain stronger." According to Zhong Shoujia, Head of the First Investment Promotion Division of Mianyang Economic Cooperation Bureau, the introduction of CEC Optics Valley Mianyang Science and Technology Park will actualize the upstream and downstream collaboration along the new display industrial chain within a shorter radius, which is conducive to expediting the construction of a 100 billion-level new display industry cluster. 

Focusing on the five advanced manufacturing industries, Neijiang has compiled 43 industrial chain maps ranging from upstream raw materials to downstream terminals and sorted out the list of 487 target enterprises. They focus on Fortune 500 companies, top 500 Chinese companies and top 500 private companies as well as industry leaders, especially those from key areas such as the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. "This year, we will strive to introduce no less than 40 manufacturing projects with an investment of more than 500 million yuan," said the relevant head of Neijiang Economic Cooperation Bureau. 

No matter it is indicator investment promotion or target investment promotion, natural transfer or independent selection, accompanying participation or competing at the same stage, investment promotion or regional marketing, the provincial economic cooperation system puts emphasis on attracting projects in an all-round and multi-dimensional manner through investment attraction by setting up promotion sites, holding conventions and exhibitions, utilizing extant business, and adopting targeted and accurate methods. 

According to the relevant head of Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation, Sichuan will accelerate the transformation from "foreign affairs resources" to "investment resources", from resource agglomeration to industrial agglomeration, from field advantages to industrial advantages, and from market space to production space by integrating advantageous resources through innovation. In this way can we build a "vine-like" investment promotion network and further empower investment promotion. 

Every Little Helps A Mickle to Create a "Business Community" for Government-Enterprise Cooperation 

The second half chapter on investment promotion is all about stabilizing market entities. Sichuan is opening up new space for promoting investment and attracting foreign businesses by giving full play to the role of chambers of commerce in different places and the effectiveness of "building a tower by accumulating soil on earth". 

On August 13, a special meeting was held in Chengdu. On that day, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation guided Sichuan Chamber of Commerce Federation to hold a symposium on "Boosting Economy and Seeking Growth", with a view to mobilizing more resources and gathering extensive forces to help the province to go all out for the economic development and construction. 

As a bridge and link between the government and enterprises from other places, Sichuan Chamber of Commerce Federation possesses extensive enterprise resources. Data show that there are 28 provincial-level chambers of commerce, 10 professional committees, and more than 22,000 member enterprises in Sichuan. In 2021, non-local chambers of commerce in Sichuan actively participated in Sichuan's economic development, bringing in an additional investment of more than 200 billion yuan. 

"A great number of 'New Sichuan Businessmen' have been helping to publicize and even introduce Sichuan to their friends, which is more targeted and has a higher success rate of investment attraction." According to the relevant head of Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation, since this year, Sichuan has continuously guided chambers of commerce to accurately seize investment opportunities in key areas. More foreign enterprises are attracted to invest and set up their headquarters in Sichuan, together with new projects, professionals and capitals, as the work conferences were held for lots of chambers of commerce and their visits were paid to different cities (prefectures). Additionally, the "New Sichuan Businessmen" investment initiative was issued. These have not only effectively promoted cooperation, mutual trust, complementarity and industrial interaction, but also formed a pattern in which the government takes the lead in promoting investment, chambers of commerce collaborate with others and enterprises take proactive actions. In the next step, Sichuan will fully stimulate the strong potential of chambers of commerce to "build a tower by accumulating soil on earth". Regarding foreign enterprises that have settled as huge investment promotion resources, we will focus on introducing resource-oriented, high value-added, and high-income enterprises so as to make the group of advantageous enterprises stronger, build a number of industry clusters, and cultivate famous brand products. 

It is worth mentioning that in order to further integrate platform resources, Sichuan will also make efforts to jointly build a liaison center for chambers of commerce, which can better play its role of linking, leading, and promoting business with business. Various service platforms for policy consultation, business expansion, and resource integration have been established to improve the enterprise ecosystem on the basis of chambers of commerce. 

Providing quality services to enterprises is of the same significance as attracting enterprises to settle down in Sichuan. Not long ago, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation received a letter of thanks from Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. Since late April, overseas returnees from Huawei have successively entered China from Chengdu and encountered practical difficulties during the quarantine. After being informed of the situation, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation actively followed up the situation, coordinated relevant work and joined hands with relevant provincial and municipal departments to formulate specific solutions, which greatly facilitated the successful resolution of the problem. 

Huawei is just one of the many cases where the economic cooperation system in Sichuan serves enterprises and gets involved in addressing problems. Since the beginning of this year, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation has continued to perfect the world-class business environment in Sichuan. By organizing activities to "Visit Thousands of Enterprises" and special service actions for foreign-invested enterprises, the Bureau helped solve difficulties encountered by enterprises over the course of development and accelerate the implementation of signed projects. On the one hand, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation reaches out to key foreign-invested enterprises through inspections and visits in order to know more about policy implementation, construction progress, operation status, investment willingness, and demands for support. With the information in mind, the Bureau can provide targeted support so as to further improve the compliance rate, housing starts, and paid-in rate. On the other hand, by appointing service specialists, setting up hotlines, opening special service windows for foreign enterprises, and holding government-enterprise symposiums, the Bureau can better serve foreign-funded enterprises. Meanwhile, the Bureau takes active actions to solicit suggestions from foreign enterprises on the business environment, and understand the difficulties and problems encountered by them so that the Bureau can ensure that "the government can respond to enterprises' requests accordingly". 

According to incomplete statistics, from January to June this year, Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Economic Cooperation helped over 290 key foreign-funded enterprises in Sichuan to solve more than 310 problems and appeals. Besides, it helped 97 enterprises such as Taichia Chengdu Glass Fiber Co., Ltd. and Emerson Automated Flow Control (Sichuan) Co., Ltd. increase capital by 1.097 billion U.S. dollars in total. In addition, more than 50 foreign-funded enterprises (projects) with intentions of cooperation have been sorted out after the Bureau appointed liaison officers for 156 leading foreign-funded enterprises in manufacturing and service industries or key links of the industries, and held more than 120 government-enterprise symposiums. 

Building a "business community" and drawing a "concentric circle" with enterprises has become a key move of Sichuan's economic cooperation system since this year so that the province can boost its economy and carry out construction.

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