Facilitated business environment is a magnet for business investment

At a new materials production line in Changyi, a county-level city in Weifang, Shandong province, workers are busy fulfilling orders in an organized and efficient manner.

“Regular on-site coordination and timely communication with local government departments greatly facilitated our operations, effectively driving project progress and ensuring completion time,” said Liu Wenpeng, head of engineering at Weifang-based Yaxing Chemical.

Strategically positioning itself as a beacon for business investment, Changyi further optimizes its business environment and attracts the attention of more investors as part of its efforts to realize stable economic development and provide stable momentum and support for high-quality development.

Throughout 2023, it has conducted 105 targeted investment promotion activities in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, signing contracts for 104 new projects whose investment exceeded 100 million yuan ($14 million). A total of 36 sites have started construction and 10 sites are in production, according to local government data.

China will continuously optimize its business environment and constantly stimulate the enthusiasm and creativity of business entities, according to the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in December.

However, to achieve the goal, it is not enough to simply invite businesses in – it is also important to help them adapt to the local business environment and achieve real growth.

“For enterprises with investment intentions, all they have to do is provide information about the project during the coordination process. We take care of the rest to simplify the next process for businesses as much as possible,” said Xia Haitao, director of investment department of Changyi Promotion Center.

The city has so far successfully attracted a number of large-scale cooperative projects, such as a pioneering offshore wind integration demonstration project with the Three Gorges Group, marking the nation’s first tripartite model combining wind, light and fish farms.

“The decision to invest and build new energy projects here was supported by a series of project advancement services provided by the local government, enabling the project to go from large-scale construction to grid-connected power generation in just 180 days,” said Cao Jinchao, manager of the engineering management department at Three Gorges New Energy Shandong Changyi Power Generation Co Ltd.

Cao also said that the stable offshore wind speed and abundant sea and land sunlight in the northern part of Changyi have also provided unique advantages for the development of offshore wind power.

The project’s successful grid connection not only filled an internal gap and completed the industrial chain for local new energy development, but also attracted a series of suitable enterprises to invest in Changyi, resulting in a virtuous circle for business growth, said Sun Zhaoxing, director of Changyi Development and Reform Bureau.

Similarly, a shrimp farming company also said it made a good choice to locate in Changyi, where the local government helped it overcome difficult challenges before finally breaking through the bottlenecks in the industry.

“When it comes to shrimp farming, water quality is most important. We found that Changyi’s climate and geographical conditions are ideal for shrimp farming. However, due to the presence of a chemical industrial park, there have been concerns about possible minor groundwater pollution, which may make it unsuitable for aquaculture,” said Luo Kun, deputy general manager of Bangpu, a Changyi-based aquaculture technology firm.

Upon learning the news, local authorities immediately drilled a deep well at the Bangpu breeding site and took water samples before sending them to qualified institutions for testing. The test results confirmed that this was just a false alarm – the water quality meets the requirements for shrimp farming.

“It was this purposeful move by the local government that led us to set up a breeding base in Changi,” said Luo.

Through strategic cooperation with high-quality domestic resources, Bangpu has established the largest and most genetically diverse white leg shrimp live seed bank in China. Key genetic collections have been continuously selected for more than five generations, with an annual breeding capacity of 100,000 pairs of high-quality shrimp, filling the gap in the domestic market and breaking the barriers of whiteleg shrimp breeding technologies that have been monopolized by foreign entities for years, the company said.

Changyi’s proactive approach to promoting investment also lies in its meticulous planning, focusing on key industrial sectors such as high-end chemicals, smart equipment manufacturing and new energy equipment. He innovatively outlined precise investment roadmaps for each industry, streamlining the process for interested firms.

Through advanced technologies such as 3D modeling, artificial intelligence panoramas, GPS positioning and GIS systems, the local government also aims to break the constraints of traditional investment practices. Key investment information about the city, such as location advantages, transportation, climate, energy and land use, and existing industrial structures, can also be found on its WeChat mini program. This integration increases the efficiency of attracting investment by presenting a comprehensive overview of available resources, the Changyi government said.

To further improve project management services throughout the lifecycle, Changyi has organized 14 rounds of bank-to-enterprise matchmaking activities since early 2023, benefiting over 700 enterprises. Tax cuts and fee reductions totaled 530 million yuan, injecting financial vitality into the city’s development, according to data from the Weifang Investment Promotion Network.

His dedication to streamlined procedures, customized investment roadmaps and a conducive business environment has translated into tangible success.

“In 2023, Changyi will organize a series of project signing activities, concluding 37 deals with a total investment of about 12 billion yuan, making investment attraction a strong force for high-quality development,” Xia said, adding that the city’s investment-related activities have been even more active recently during the year-end period.

From January to October, the total industrial output value of enterprises of the above-defined size in Changyi reached 68.53 billion yuan, an increase of 7.4 percent year-on-year. The operating income of industries above the specified size totaled 63.61 billion yuan, up 11.4 percent year-on-year, according to official Changyi government data.

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