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Jiangsu a center for foreign investment

By LIANG KAIYAN |  China Daily Global |  Updated:2023-01-03

As China expands higher-level opening-up, stable social and economic development, a sound business environment and a complete supporting industry have made the Chinese market an ideal option for foreign investment.

In Jiangsu province, nearly half of foreign-funded businesses have developed in Suzhou. The city has long been a hot spot for foreign investment from Japan, South Korea and Germany as it boasts a competitive business environment and complete industrial chains. By the end of 2021, Suzhou's paid-in foreign capital ranked third among peers in the country and accounted for two-thirds of Jiangsu's total.

Kunshan, a county-level city administrated by Suzhou, is a key player in boosting foreign investment.

At the Kunshan New& Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, Voith Paper China, headquarters of Germany's Voith Group in Asia, is the one of the world's largest production and service centers for modern paper machines.

Built in 2006, Voith Paper China covers an area of 20 hectares in the zone. It is the largest German-funded business in Kunshan so far.

"Kunshan shares a sound business environment and has complete industrial chains. From preferential policy support to the high quality of our Chinese staff members, these are the essential factors that make Voith develop here," said Li Qing, director of the business development department of Voith Paper China.

Over the years, Voith has supplied paper-making machines to Chinese businesses. For example, Sun Paper Beihai PM2, one of the world's most advanced high-speed board machines, is manufactured by Voith in cooperation with its long-term partner, Shandong-based Sun Paper. The Beihai PM2, which weighs as much as two Eiffel Towers, is the 12th board machine that Voith supplied to Sun Paper, with an annual capacity of more than 1 million metric tons.

"Voith adopts the same standards in all of its production. The branch in Kunshan contributed around half of the group's supplies around the world," Li said.

Apart from factory production, there is Voith China Training Center, which offers technical and leadership training for local talent and businesses in collaboration between Voith and the Kunshan city government.

The center also introduced apprenticeships, a part of Germany's dual education system, which gives students from local vocational schools on-the-job training.

"We bring the German technology while cooperating with local businesses from the industrial chain to complete our production, and facilitate business and cultural exchanges. Kunshan is a place that attaches importance to business and industrial development. That is why we are here," Li said.

With the improvement in the business environment, Kunshan ranked top among its peers in the country with the most foreign-funded businesses.

In 2021, the paid-in foreign capital in Kunshan increased by 16.9 percent year-on-year to $1.22 billion, the highest figure in seven years. Of this, the paid-in foreign capital in the manufacturing accounted for 60 percent. Agreements for 336 foreign-invested projects with a total of $2.88 billion were signed in Kunshan, accounting for 18 percent of the total in Suzhou.


Employees of Voith Paper China check out a paper-making machine at the company's plant in Kunshan. CHINA DAILY

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