Zhejiang uses digital technology to stabilize foreign investment
Digital technology has been playing an important role in Zhejiang province's efforts to stabilize foreign investment during the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to statistics, the province has signed 74 foreign-funded project deals costing a total of $6.21 billion online so far this year. More than 30 of the projects will cost over 100 million yuan ($14.05 million) each. They mainly revolve advanced manufacturing, high-end equipment, and new materials.
The online signing of project deals has become a trend throughout the province amid the outbreak. Local authorities are negotiating with project representatives by phone, WeChat, e-mail, and video conference.
In early February, the Deqing Economic and Technological Development Zone in Huzhou signed a 500-million-yuan project with a foreign company online.
"We reached an agreement with the zone last November and agreed to sign the contract after the Spring Festival. We thought the signing would be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the administrative committee of the zone suggested an online signing," said project manager Xu Yijing.
Hangzhou recently held six online promotional meetings to attract investment and discuss cooperation, and Yongjia county in Wenzhou signed 11 projects worth 19.13 billion yuan online.
Local authorities have also improved services for foreign businesses.
The administrative committee of Nantaihu New Area in Huzhou recently arranged for construction workers to pave a road so that $12 million worth of items for a Sino-Korean project could enter the zone.
On Feb 14, after learning that Pepsi's warehouse in Jiashan county, Jiaxing wished to resume operations, the provincial department of commerce immediately coordinated with authorities in the county and accepted the request that day.
"Out of all new foreign investment in Zhejiang, more than one third is additional investment from already existing partners," said Lu Jun, deputy director of the foreign investment division of the provincial commerce department.
The department has been working to accelerate the establishment of the Zhejiang International Investment Single Window, which, according to Yu Ruifeng, another deputy director of the foreign investment division, is meant to place all information and procedures related to attracting foreign investment online.
In addition, cities have been formulating policies to attract foreign investment by offering more incentives.
"We should try to attract more investment from places less affected by the epidemic, such as Singapore," said Lu Jun, adding that Zhejiang will focus on high-reward and high-tech projects that are key to local industrial development.