Confidence encourages firms to make key plans

(China Daily Global)Updated : 2020-11-24

Satisfied with the business environment of Xuhui district in Shanghai, foreign-funded companies are promising a long-term development in the Chinese market.

International energy company ExxonMobil said its decision to set up regional headquarters in Xuhui district has proved to be correct.

"Over the years, Xuhui district has created a high-quality business environment for enterprises of different types and we have seen and experienced firsthand the continuous improvement in the overall business environment," said Song Ping Teoh, president of North AP Lubricants Business at ExxonMobil.

"We have also seen the government's strong desire in attracting and retaining quality foreign investment," Teoh said. He added that impressive infrastructure and public facilities, transparency in the drafting and implementation of laws and regulations with input from the foreign business community are important components.

The government operates efficiently with a service-oriented mindset. All these have enabled ExxonMobil's growing footprints in Shanghai, he said.

ExxonMobil operates its business in China primarily through Exxon-Mobil (China) Investment, which was set up in Xuhui district in 1996.It was certified as regional headquarters in China in 2002.

The company's business portfolio in China spans the full industry, from upstream to downstream, chemicals and technology centers, with 1,600 employees in China.

"After the outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year, Xuhui district issued guiding policies and took effective measures to help enterprises, and we have been impressed and encouraged by the tremendous efforts of Chinese government," Teoh said.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, the company's business in China has returned to normal and achieved positive GDP growth in the third quarter.

"We regularly evaluate our portfolio, taking advantage of opportunities to invest to strengthen our long-term strategic businesses in China," he said.

The world-famous toy maker Lego Group also expressed the same view.

"Since we established our regional hub office in Shanghai in 2014, we have benefited a lot from the friendly business environment that Xuhui district provides. Lego China has achieved high-quality growth in recent years," said Clothilde Yang, senior director of government and public affairs of Lego Group in China.

Lego Toys (Shanghai) was established in June 2014. It is a wholly foreign-owned enterprise with headquarters located in Xuhui.

In 2018, Lego Toys (Shanghai) was awarded the Shanghai regional headquarters certificate by Shanghai municipal government.

"Xuhui is an urban area mixed with Chinese and Western cultures, modernity and tradition, with profound cultural and historical heritage, as well as very rich education resources," Yang said. "Its premier location in downtown Shanghai and high-quality property management provides a convenient working space for our employees."

Besides this, Xuhui district provides a friendly business service environment with trade facilitation policies and financial subsidies, and a professional and service-oriented team to support important occasions of our business momentum, Yang said.

According to Yang, the district supported Lego Education to set up legal entity last year. According to the company, its business in China has achieved double-digit growth in recent years. By the end of 2020, the total number of Lego Group brand retail stores in China will reach 220.

After the outbreak of COVID-19 this year, Xuhui government heads visited the office in person to better understand our company needs and difficulties and provided helpful support to the business recovery, including various funding and supportive policies to help the company minimize the impact on business operations, Yang said.

China is a strategic market for the Lego Group and Lego Group attaches great importance to business development in China, Yang said.

"Lego Group has long-term confidence in China and a strong commitment to the Chinese market, and will continue to invest and bring more innovative products and exciting learning through play to Chinese children and families," Yang said.

Management from French yeast manufacturer Lesaffre said Xuhui government's efforts have strengthened their belief in the Chinese market.

" In recent years, Xuhui government has tried every possible way to facilitate the import and export trade, cross-border capital pooling measures for enterprises to build investment and 'going out'.

"It effectively helps to solve the difficulties and pain points of enterprises, and launched a variety of measures to optimize the business environment to strengthen the confidence of enterprises to invest," said Jean-Philippe Poulin, the president for Lesaffre China.

Besides Shanghai, Lesaffre has built and operates four production sites, four bakery centers and six factories across China, employing more than 1,500 people.

At present, many of the products sold in the Chinese market are from its overseas factories. Jean-Philippe Poulin said cross-border trade has become smoother and more efficient than before thanks to the optimization of business environment and preferential policies. After the pandemic, the government has provided a lot of care and assistance to Lesaffre, helping the company to solve the problems encountered when resuming work and production in a timely manner, he said. "The business environment is an important soft power of a city and an extremely important source of attraction, creativity, and competitiveness. We believe that with the cooperation of the government and enterprises, Lesaffre will continue to develop steadily in the Chinese market," he said.