Investment Opportunities in Chengdu, Chongqing and Sichuan

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Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Aug. 25 – Sichuan is the powerhouse of China’s southwest and has gained increased attention since the implementation of the Go West policy back in 2000. The province has benefited from lower operating costs than the eastern and central regions, with the added attraction of a massive population. Sichuan (including Chongqing) has a total market of some 120 million people. A survey of foreign managers conducted by the World Bank cited this as a major reason for investing in the province. However, the same study suggested that underdeveloped transport infrastructure (it takes seven to ten days to transport goods to and from the nearest seaport), unreliable electrical power supply, and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining professionals had held back the province’s development. However, this also is indicative of a regional emerging market with infrastructure investment potential.

For the purposes of this article, we will include Chongqing as being part of the total Sichuan market, although administratively it is dealt with as a separate municipality. The size of the region compared with other nearby Asian markets that Sichuan businesses export to makes interesting reading. Here are the statistics from 2009:

In fact, Sichuan is China’s fifth largest province, is approximately the same size as France, and has the third largest population in China. The province has enjoyed relative stability compared to the rest of China. Sichuan’s borders have remained relatively constant for the past 500 years, although this changed in 1997 when the city of Chongqing and the surrounding towns of Fuling and Wanxian were formed into the new Chongqing municipality.

For many centuries, Sichuan was not easy to access as the province is ringed by mountains. The capital, Chengdu, was only linked to the national rail network in 1956. Major efforts have been made in recent years to improve infrastructure including the expansion of the Chengdu airport and the construction of four new sub-regional airports. Sichuan has more than 110,000 kilometers of highways and 1,500 kilometers of expressways. However, due to the mountainous terrain, transporting goods in and out of the province is a challenge. Many expressways and roads connecting the city to its periphery, damaged during the earthquake are currently undergoing repair. Looking forward, the Ministry of Railways and Chengdu municipal government are collaborating to further speed up existing railway construction projects. They include the line from Chengdu to Dujiangyan (an earthquake-affected area), a new railway station and freight train lines.

The Chengdu-Dujiangyan railway runs from Chengdu via Pixian County to Dujiangyan City. The new railway station, with a floor area of 100,000 square meters, is located at Shahebao, Chenghua District. It will mainly serve inter-city passenger routes of Chengdu-Mianyang-Leshan, Chengdu-Chongqing and the departure and terminus works of the bullet trains of Dazhou-Chengdu and Chengdu-Kunming. A 58.8-kilometer freight train line will run from North Chengdu Marshalling Station to Hualongmen Station on Chengdu-Kunming Railway line. China’s first privately funded railway, the Pengzhou-Bailu line was completed in 2008. Under the build, operate, transfer scheme Sichuan Dezhong Investment Construction Company has funded construction of the line and has the right to operate it for 30 years before rights are transferred to the local government. It is expected this model is to be used in more cases across China.

There are eight airports in Sichuan which cater to a total of 150 domestic and international routes. Four of these airports were built during the 10th Five Year Plan when the province invested RMB1.16 billion in fixed assets, Chengdu airport was also expanded during this period. Chengdu Shuangliu airport is well known for its increasing number of international air connections for both passenger and cargo traffic – it is ranked number one among the 10 major airports of western China. There are now regular passenger routes to destinations in Europe and across Asia, and cargo routes to eight major international cities.

In 2004, a rail link to Shenzhen was opened. Exports clear customs in Chengdu and are shipped twice daily to the seaport in Shenzhen. The only major port in Sichuan is located at Luzhou, in the province’s southeast. The port is located on the Yangtze River, and can accommodate ships of up to 3,000 dwt. However, a seasonal tidal range of roughly 18 meters can make loading and unloading somewhat tricky. Regardless, throughput is rapidly increasing here and plans are underway to upgrade the facilities.

Sichuan’s large industries in the nuclear, spaceflight and aviation, electronic information, bioengineering, agricultural technology and stomatology fields all play leading roles in China. Heavy industry in the province includes coal, energy, iron, and steel and there are many healthy light manufacturing sectors particularly building materials, wood processing, silk, and food and beverages. Sichuan has the largest exploitable water resources in the country and its reserves of vanadium, titanium, natural gas and five other minerals are the biggest in China. Many automobile enterprises are present in Chengdu, Mianyang, Nanchong, and Luzhou. Construction on a gas pipeline linking to Puguang gas field, China’s second largest, in addition to Shandong province and the Yangtze River Delta, began in August 2007.

Sichuan’s prosperous agricultural sector is reflected in its nickname ‘land of abundance.’ It is one of the major agricultural production bases in China, particularly for citrus fruits, peaches, sugar cane, and sweet potatoes.

The province also has many tourist attractions, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Leshan Buddha, the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area and Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation system. After the earthquake, the tourism industry in Sichuan was severely affected as many attractions were damaged. Currently, new attractions are being developed as the damaged ones undergo repair.

Following the earthquake, investment from the central government has been pouring into inner regions of Sichuan to upgrade and rebuild the many affected villages and townships, as well as strengthen those considered at potential risk. Venture capitalism is also playing a major role in reviving these local economies; there were more than 50 venture capitalists who are involved in the recovery plans. The United Nations has also provided a grant of up to US$7 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to be used by U.N. agencies and programs for post earthquake recovery in Sichuan. There were aid in-kind and aid in-cash from the governments of many countries, including Japan and the United States.

Utilized foreign investment in 2008 was US$2 billion, an increase by 36 percent; sustaining the rapid growth rate enjoyed in previous years. The province has collaborations with more than 200 countries and regions. By the end of June 2009, there were 8,589 foreign-invested enterprises approved with around US$10.23 billion of actual investment. There are 41 Fortune 500 companies with investments in Sichuan including Intel, Toyota, SK, Proctor and Gamble, and Lafarge.

Despite logistical difficulties in transporting goods in and out of the province, exports were US$8.61 billion (an increase of 30 percent), with imports at US$5.77 billion (an increase of 31.4 percent) in 2007. The province had a trade surplus of US$2.84 billion. Major exports include aviation equipment, electronic components, electrical appliances, automobile spare parts, steel products, and machinery.

As of June 30, post-earthquake investment projects, from other parts of China accrued to 103 and the investment capital RMB42 billion. There were six overseas investment projects. Union Life Insurance has opened its new Sichuan branch in Chengdu in 2008, alongside China Bohai Bank. The province also has 68 institutes of higher education, 288 vocational schools, and 10 medical schools.

There are two state-level development zones in Sichuan, one in Chengdu and one in Mianyang. The infrastructure in the development zones was minimally affected; the zones resumed their routine operations shortly after the earthquake.

Mianyang Hi and New Technology Industrial Development Zone
The Mianyang Hi and New Technology Industrial Development Zone was established as a state-level zone in 1992 and has an area of 43 square kilometers, of which 6.1 square kilometers have already been developed. The key industries in the zone are electronics and new materials, many of which have been converted from military enterprises into private production. The zone plans to achieve RMB100 billion (US$13.2 billion) in total income from its industries by 2011.

Luzhou Port
As the most westerly of the major Yangtze ports, Luzhou came to prominence in the early 1900’s as a major trader of tea and salt. Lying only 200 kilometers from Chengdu, it is primarily a site for transfer of chemicals. However, it is experiencing rapid growth in container shipping since 2004, mainly due to low loading and unloading costs. It is estimated that over 200,000 TEUs of container shipping will pass through the port in 2010, and numerous projects are underway at the port to make Luzhou capable of handling larger throughput. Other projects along this precinct of the Yangtze include plans to further upgrade the waterway which will allow 1,000 dwt barges a year-long passage to Luzhou. Currently, seasonal tides dictate the size of barges and ships that can access the port. At its highest, the Yangtze allows vessels of up to 3,000 dwt to access the port.

Chengdu

Chengdu, located in Southwest Sichuan Province, is the country’s fifth most populous city with a total population of about 11 million. It is also one of the most important economic centers and transportation and communication hubs in West China. According to property giant Jones Lang LaSalle, “A large graduate population, relatively low operating costs, and a reputation as the most livable large city in the western region, combined with the professional skills of the Chengdu government in dealing with foreign investment, has placed Chengdu as the current top investment location in inland China.”

According to the 2007 Public Appraisal for Best Chinese Cities for Investment, Chengdu was chosen as one of the top ten cities to invest in out of a total of 280 urban centers in China. The city has a pleasant climate and ambiance, and retains much of its original traditional features while also having been upgraded in terms of technology and inter-connectiveness. It is also an attractive posting for expatriate staff due to the atmosphere, easy going nature, good environment and social life. It also doubles as a gateway to Tibet – many flights to Lhasa originate from Chengdu, and the city retains a sizable Tibetan population.

The main industries in Chengdu, including food, medicine, machinery and information technology, are supported by numerous large-scale enterprises, such as Chengdu Sugar and Wine Co. Ltd., Chengdu Food Group, Sichuan Medicine Co. Ltd., Chengdu Automobile Co. Ltd. etc. Many high-tech enterprises from outside Chengdu are also beginning to settle down in the city. Chengdu is becoming one of the favorite cities for investment in western China. Among the World’s 500 largest companies, 133 multinational enterprises had subsidiaries or branch offices in Chengdu by the end of 2009. These include Intel, Sony, and Toyota that have assembly and manufacturing bases, as well as Motorola, Ericsson, and Microsoft that have R&D centers in Chengdu. Our own firm, Dezan Shira & Associates, plans to establish a branch in Chengdu in early 2011 in order to better serve existing clients and participate in the resurgence in investor interest in the city.

The National Development and Reform Commission has formally approved Chengdu’s proposed establishment of a national bio-industry base. The government of Chengdu has recently unveiled a plan to create a RMB90 billion bio-pharmaceutical sector by 2012. China’s aviation industries have begun construction of a high-tech industrial park in the city that will feature space and aviation technology. The local government plans to attract overseas and domestic companies for service outsourcing and become a well-known service outsourcing base in China and worldwide.

Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone
Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone was approved as state-level development zone in February 2000. The zone now has a developed area of 10.25 square kilometers and has a planned area of 26 square kilometers. Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone lies 13.6 kilometers east of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province and the hub of transportation and communication in southwest China. The zone has attracted investors and developers from more than 20 countries to carry out their projects there. Industries encouraged in the zone include mechanical, electronic, new building materials, medicine and food processing.

Chengdu Export Processing Zone
Chengdu Export Processing Zone was ratified by the State Council as one of the first 15 export processing zones in the country in April, 2000. In 2002, the state ratified the establishment of the Sichuan Chengdu Export Processing West Zone with a planned area of 1.5 square kilometers, located inside the west region of the Chengdu Hi-Tech Zone.

Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
Established in 1988, Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone was approved as one of the first national high-tech development zones in 1991. In 2000, it was open to APEC and has been recognized as a national advanced high-tech development zone in successive assessment activities held by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology. It ranks 5th among the 53 national high-tech development zones in China in terms of comprehensive strength. Chengdu Hi-tech Development Zone covers an area of 82.5 square kilometers, consisting of the South Park and the West Park. By relying on the city sub-center which is under construction, the South Park is focusing on creating a modernized industrial park with scientific and technological innovation, incubation R&D, modern service industry and headquarters playing leading roles. Priority has been given to the development of software industry. Located on both sides of the “Chengdu-Dujiangyan-Jiuzhaigou” golden tourism channel, the West Park aims at building a comprehensive industrial park targeting at industrial clustering with complete supportive functions. The West Park gives priority to three major industries i.e. electronic information, bio-medicine and precision machinery.

Chengdu National Cross-Strait Technology Industry Development Park
This park deals almost exclusively with Taiwanese investors, including industry clusters in footwear, electronics and semi-conductors.

Chongqing

Bo Xilai with Chris Devonshire-Ellis back in 1999

Chongqing is the masculine yang to the yin of Chengdu. A mountainous city where only the brave have bicycles, the effects of the  Go West drive to generate investment in the western provinces can be felt most clearly in this huge municipality. It is expected that Chongqing will play the role as a magnet for investment in the west that Shenzhen and Shanghai did for the south and the east in the 1980s and 1990s. Chongqing is already one of the fastest developing cities in the world and the government wants it to develop faster still. The target is for the municipality to be 70 percent urbanized by 2020. The current Party Secretary is Bo Xilai, a man many tip to be the next premier of China.

Fast facts

  • In 1997, Chongqing was approved as China’s fourth centrally administered municipality after Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin
  • Both a municipality and a city, Chongqing is the fastest growing urban center in the world and its population is already bigger than Iraq, Peru, and Malaysia
  • A center of motorcycle production, the city’s steep hills mean that Chongqing is one of the few places in China where bicycles are a rarity
  • In 1891 Chongqing became the first inland commerce port in China with the aim of linking southwest China to the rest of the world
  • Many factories and universities were moved from Eastern China to Chongqing during the war, transforming it from an inland port to a heavy-industrial city

While Chongqing is often described as the biggest city in the world, the title is somewhat misleading as much of the city’s population includes significant rural areas. The actual urban area of the developed city itself has a population of about 8 million.

Chongqing possesses a comprehensive transportation system that not only links the east and west together but interconnects its own urban and rural areas. It is the only transport hub in west China to integrate water, land and air transport. There are five major highways which run through Chongqing, the most important of which is the Chengdu-Chongqing expressway that links the two powerhouses of West China. There are also expressways connecting Chongqing to Changshou, Guiyang, Beihai, and Shanghai. There are currently three major national lines running through Chongqing and the municipal government hopes several new lines under construction will make the city a national railway hub by 2017. The flagship project is a new high-speed link to Shanghai which will cut the journey time from 42 hours to just eight hours. According to local authorities, the city will have eight containerized rail lines by 2020.

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport is located 21 kilometers to the north of the city. There are international flights to Hong Kong, Dusseldorf, Munich, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Seoul. The airport has two terminal buildings which have the capacity to serve 1,000 passengers an hour.

Lying on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, Chongqing is the largest inland commercial port in Western China. The port can handle ships of up to 12,000 dwt depending on which of the five terminals they dock at. However, due to seasonal tides, loading and unloading can be slow at times. The Three Gorges Dam has also reduced the journey time to Shanghai as it has raised navigable water levels along the river.

Chongqing currently has a monorail system that has been running since July 2005. The original line, Line 1, has 17.4 kilometers of elevated rail and includes 17 stations, with plans to further extend the line. Line 2, opened in July 2006, runs from Dongwuyuan to Xinshancun and runs 19.15 kilometers long with 18 stations. Chongqing ceased work on a metro system in 1997 due to legal issues with the contracted company concerning land ownership. The Chongqing government has yet to resolve these issues but is still intent on finishing the project which has been in planning since 1988.

Chongqing was one of the famous old industrial bases in China. Its current four and two pillar industry system comprises motor vehicles, equipment manufacturing, resource processing, high-tech, urban gross economic output, industrial and labor-intensive industries. The municipality’s industrial competitiveness has been ranked sixth in China. Chongqing is China’s fourth largest center for motor vehicle production. The municipality is expected to turn out 2.6 million vehicles a year by 2020, an output that could account for as much as 15 percent of the national total. In 2007, it produced around one million vehicles, marking an annual increase of 25 percent. The industry is aiming to expand overseas and to outsource production of cars or components. Chongqing is also one of the biggest iron and steel production centers, and an important aluminum production base. The manufacturing sector is also in good health. There are more than 10,000 factories with fixed assets of over RMB73 billion. In 2005, a number of prominent domestic appliance manufacturers, including Haier, Midea and Gless, relocated their factories from coastal provinces to Chongqing.

In May 2007, the discovery of the largest reserve of natural gas in China occurred in the Sichuan Basin just outside Chongqing. The mining, refining and development of this gas, as well as related industries such as petrochemicals are now likely to play a large role in the Chongqing economy. Also, in early 2007, Chongqing was announced as one of the five Chinese cities to be named as pilot reform cities. This now means that decisions of policy and economic strategy of the city now reside in the hands of the local government rather than Beijing, which gives the local people and businesses a far greater say in the economic development of the city. Chongqing is the fourth most attractive location for FDI after Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. In 2007, contracted FDI was US$4.07 billion, an increase of 260.18 percent, of which US$1.085 billion was utilized. Global Fortune 500 companies with operations in the municipality include Danone, Carrefour, HSBC, Ericsson, Honda and Ford. Trade has also experienced significant growth. Exports in 2007 were US$4.51 billion, increasing by 34.4 percent. Major export items include motorcycles, automobiles, auto parts, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and light industrial goods. Imports also increased 38.6 percent to US$2.94 billion leaving the municipality with a trade surplus of US$1.57 billion. The private sector accounted for 40 percent of the local economy, a proportion that is expected to reach 60 percent by 2014.

The municipality is in a strong position to develop high-tech industries. There are over 1,000 scientific research institutes and 29 higher education institutions.

Chongqing has several development zones:

Chongqing Economic and Technological Development Zone
Established in 1993, it was the first state-level development zone to be approved in southwest China. Located conveniently in Nanping, the zone covers an area of 9.6 square kilometers. It lies adjacent to the Chongqing Yangtze River Bridge in the north. The park is connected with downtown Chongqing and is three kilometers from Chongqing railway station, five kilometers from Chongqing Passenger Wharf, and 28 kilometers from Chongqing Airport.

The zone benefits from a fully developed transport infrastructure. It is situated to the east of the Chongqing-Guizhou expressway which leads to seaports in southwest China. The No. 210, 212 and 319 National Highways, the Chongqing ring road consisting of four highways, and Light Rail No. 3 all run through the park. The zone comprises five main areas, namely information industry zone, Dangui industrial zone, Huilong industrial zone, comprehensive trading block, and Nanhu and Luochangwan residential areas. Key industries in the zone include automobiles and auto parts, IT, pharmaceuticals and biochemical. By the beginning of 2006, 4,166 enterprises were operating in the zone, 410 of which were foreign invested projects totaling US$2.5 billion. The zone is encouraging further investment in the new and high-tech industries.

Chongqing Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone
The zone was approved by the State Council in 1991 and contains a 12 square-kilometer area of industrial parks. The zone aims to attract a range of high-tech and other modern industries, but so far, most of the companies have specialized in just two areas, namely electronic information products and auto components manufacturing.

There are nearly 4,000 companies with operations in the zone of which 200 are high-tech enterprises and 300 are FIEs. Investment has mainly streamed in from Japan, the United States, Germany, France, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. U.S.-based UTStarcom, the largest supplier of local loop equipment in China, has a US$25 million plant in the HTDZ, which is capable of manufacturing one million personal access system handsets annually. The Nasdaq-listed company also plans to invest up to US$72 million in R&D in Chongqing and to expand its production to include broadband access equipment and 3G mobile systems.

The New North Zone
Established in 2002, the North Zone covers a planned area of 130 square kilometers. The zone is located in an advantageous region of Chongqing, linking Jiangbei and Yuzhong districts to the south, Yubei District to the north, neighboring the Jialing River to the west and linking Shapingba and Beibei Districts via a bridge. The Chongqing New Railway Station is also being built within the zone. The New North Zone focuses on high-tech industries such as optoelectronics, information technology, new medicine, bioengineering, pollution control equipment, automobile and parts, as well as export oriented manufacturing. Several parks have been set up within the zone, including the Auto Industrial Park, Optoelectronic Park, Software Park, Pollution Control Production Park, Medical Equipment Park and Export Processing Zone. Around 400 companies have operations in the zone, including Ford, Honda, Ericsson, Nippon Denso, BP, Coca-Cola and Kansai Paint.

Chongqinq Port
Chongqing’s development as a port has been incredibly quick. In 2000, there were virtually no container shipment facilities to speak of, but by 2005, the port was transporting around 170,000 containers. Today, it acts as the major Yangtze shipment hub for southwest China and continues to grow. The city intends to have invested around US$12 billion on road and waterway infrastructure by 2010. In order to gain much of its funding, Chongqing became the first Chinese port to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2000, and in five years had raised over RMB600 million (US$79.6 million) in investment funds.

According to a framework plan issued by the Chongqing municipal government in mid-2005, the city will be developed into a modern logistics base with a sophisticated EDI platform, 6.5 million square meters of warehousing and an annual cargo transport volume of 800 million tons by 2010. No doubt, Chongqing is on its way to becoming the main logistics center for the region.

Although the port is capable of handling ships of up to 10,000 dwt, the vast majority of containers and freight make their way by barge due to shipping conditions and seasonal tides. Consequently, the majority of terminals can only accommodate 6,000-8,000 dwt ships. Containers traveling the length of the river to or from Shanghai take around 10 days to complete the journey, although the trip can be made in as little as four days in ideal circumstances. However, the back-flow of water – the result of the Three Gorges Dam project – is expected to reach Chongqing in 2009, resulting in larger ships frequenting the port more often.

Jiulongpo is currently the biggest container terminal on the upper Yangtze. It handles almost all international container trade originating in southwest China. Its throughput rose to 250,000 TEUs in 2006. Located on the north bank of the river, the terminal’s 10 berths occupy 2,200 meters of quayside. It has a dry-season water depth of five meters, and can accommodate 6,000 dwt vessels. Due to the Yangtze’s seasonal water-level differential, which is especially prominent in Chongqing at 16 meters or more, containers are loaded and unloaded by way of a winch system that moves up and down the slope between the river and the terminal. The system works, but it is rather slow and a relatively costly way to manage vessels. One reason Jiulongpo is favored among exporters is its location in the southwestern part of Chongqing. Warehouse facilities and road interconnections are all decent. The terminal also has a four kilometer-long dedicated rail line with an average daily volume of 8,300 tons.

Cuntan International Container Terminal is currently under construction on the north bank of the river, six kilometers to the northeast of the city center. Upon completion in 2009, it will be the largest and most modern container terminal on the upper Yangtze. Phase I already began operation in 2006, featuring three 3,000 dwt berths, with a water depth of five meters and annual capacity of 280,000 TEU. Throughput for 2006 reached 50,000 TEU. Additionally, a new ro-ro terminal has been complete, with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles. Construction of phase two of Cuntan began in 2006 and should be completed by 200. It will feature three more 3,000 dwt berths with a combined annual capacity of 420,000 TEUs, together with an expanded ro-ro terminal capable of handling 420,000 TEU annually.

Chongqing port also includes a number of separate facilities both up- and downriver. Those include Jiangjin Terminal in Degan town, Jiangjin city, Maoertuo Terminal, also situated in Jiangjin city, and the Changshou New Terminal, in Fengcheng town of Changshou district. Construction of this new terminal began in mid-2005 and upon completion of phase 1 alone, it will become the biggest deep-water facility on the upper Yangtze. With a huge annual capacity of eight million tons, Changshou’s 13 berths will be able to handle steel, coal, cars, general cargo and some containers. Water depth at its quays will be five meters. Connected to the new Chongqing-Huaihua railway, it is equipped to handle goods from Guizhou and Hunan provinces.

The Chongqing – Chengdu – Kunming corridor
Sichuan’s geography is such that it is becoming an attractive base from which to reach as far as Southeast Asia. Taking advantage of the lower wage and land costs, yet with the additional benefit of possessing a well educated skilled workforce, both Chongqing and Chengdu are well linked to Kunming and Nanning and this in turn gives surprisingly easy access for Sichuan manufactured goods to be sold onto China’s neighboring Southeast Asian markets. Companies based here are also reaching out as far as India, and several Indian-Sino joint ventures have been created both in Sichuan and in India. With river and rail access to both Kunming and Nanning, transportation links here connect directly to rail, road and shipping destinations and from there onwards to the ultimate market destination. The Chongqing-Chengdu-Kunming corridor is an important link and is well served by regular flights, rail and road links.

Foreign investors looking at the massive internal markets of China would do well to consider the real heartland of the country, and this is indeed Sichuan. With a long established industrial base, extant and educated workforce, and developing links both with other Chinese domestic markets in addition to Southeast Asia and India, Sichuan offers plenty of resources for businesses to take advantage of China based manufacturing costs and production benchmarks, a vast domestic market and a growing influence and reach throughout Asia. My practice first assisted foreign investors in Sichuan way back in 2001, and while our plans to set up an office in Chengdu had to briefly be put on the shelf due to the earthquake and global financial crisis, we are back on track to invest ourselves in a capitalized branch early next year. Sichuan, and the cities of Chengdu and Chongqing in particular, epitomize China to a great extent, and in my opinion, they remain destinations that are almost impossible for the foreign investor interested in a mix of China domestic sales and Asia exports to ignore.

Parts of this article were excerpted from the China Briefing Guide to West China.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the principal and founding partner of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 18 years of foreign investment experience throughout China, including Chengdu and Chongqing. For assistance and advice over foreign investment laws, taxes and incentives and conditions in China please contact the firm at info@dezshira.com. Chris also contributes to India Briefing , Vietnam Briefing , Asia Briefing and 2point6billion

Related Reading
The Complete “China Goes West” Series
(Covering all of China’s Western Regions and their investment potential)

Chongqing, More Than a City

Chengdu City Guide
(Complimentary PDF download)

Chongqing City Guide
(Complimentary PDF download)

Business Guide to West China
(Includes overviews of the Provinces of Gansu, Guizhou, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Yunnan, and includes detailed introductions to the key cities of Chengu, Chongqing, Kashgar, Kunming, Lanzhou, Lhasa, Guiyang, Urumqi, Xi’an, Xining and Yinchuan)

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