China's Hubei endeavors to improve soft environment for foreign investment
Central China's Hubei province will make efforts to improve the "soft environment" for the foreign investment, bring forth innovative methods of attracting foreign investment, and guide the foreign investment to advanced manufacturing, high-tech and modern service industries in 2016.
Meanwhile, Hubei will continuously support and encourage transnational companies and large domestic enterprises to set up regional headquarters, R&D centers and regional procurement centers in the province this year.
As the current foreign investment concentrated mainly on the labor-intensive and capital-intensive industries and did not exerted big effects on the province's industrial upgrading and adjustment, experts suggested that the government can guide foreign investments to proper industries through policies and encourage foreign investments in high-tech industry field, like the automobile industry.
Although Hubei produces a large number of high-quality college graduates each year, due to low salary, the brain drain problem in the province is still prominent, which, to some degree, hinders the foreign investment in the tertiary industry. Therefore, the province will endeavor to retain the talents and create a good talent environment for the foreign investment.
In recent two years, the province has actively learned advanced experience in the Shanghai free trade zone (FTZ), constantly broadened the fields for foreign investment, such as energy, public infrastructure, transportation, trade circulation and information service, and accelerated establishment of regional headquarters and R&D centers of transnational companies.
As for the investment environment, Hubei Province has strengthened transformation of government functions, delegated the approval power to the local governments, advanced liberalization of investment, trade facilitation, and reform in technical and financial fields, and comprehensively promoted filing system in the foreign investment field with approval system as a supplement.
The province has accelerated the transportation construction and optimized the channel for opening-up to the outside. Its Wuhan-Xinjiang-Europe international freight railway saw the shipments rank the second in China, making it one of the logistics channel in the Eurasia region. The Wuhan Tianhe International Airport saw the number of international direct routes increase to 39 in 2015 from the 7 in 2010. The Wuhan Yangluo Port launched the container lines to Japan and the Republic of Korea with the voyage shortened to 7-8 days from 12-16 days.
The province has seen its foreign investment buck the trend and grow, against the background of the increasing pressure on the domestic economic growth.
In 2015, Hubei saw the amount of the foreign investment in actual use stand at 8.95 billion U.S. dollars, hitting a record high.
By the end of 2015, the province has introduced 241 "Global Top 500 companies", of which 167 were foreign-funded "Global Top 500 companies". In 2015, the province introduced additional 8 foreign-invested "Global Top 500 companies", ranking the first in central China.
In 2015, Hubei saw the number of newly registered foreign-invested companies reach 944, up 17.85 percent. By the end of 2015, the province saw 8,646 foreign-invested companies. (by Chen Jun)