China puts faith in development zones to attract investors

China is to carry on promoting its development zones as a means of attracting foreign investment and promoting international cooperation, the State Council announced yesterday, as it seeks to counter the effects of President Donald Trump’s attempts to boost domestic  production and employment by discouraging US companies from locating their plants and factories abroad.
International companies running their operations within the zones will be allowed to raise money from abroad through bonds and loans, while  special customs businesses are to be launched to help incoming investors.
There are currently 73 national-level and 74 provincial-level development zones dotted across China, for the most part located within its  Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the tax-light network of industrial parks which have been central to its success in  attracting inward investment since the early 1980s, when  four small towns on the southeastern coast of China were given SEZ status.
Those small towns were  Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shantou in Guangdong province and Xiamen in Fujian province, all of which have since grown into significant conurbations. Today, there are also SEZs in Hainan Province, Hunchun and Shanghai. Between them they account for 45% of all the country’s FDI, represent more than 20% of GDP and have created more than 30 million jobs.