The megacities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have always attracted the bulk of investments in China. But increasingly, foreign investors are looking elsewhere in the vast country for opportunities — the number of Singapore firms in Chengdu, for instance, grew from 299 in early 2013 to 384 by the end of 2014, a 28 percent increase.
SINGAPORE-LINKED COMPANIES DRAWN TO SICHUAN
Mr. Darrel Chua has had over 20 years of experience in in-flight entertainment. About five years ago, he ventured to China to develop mobile and in-flight entertainment content. But rather than start his business in the mega-cities of Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, he opted for the western Chinese city of Chengdu.
President of Enveesoft Mr. Chua said: “Chengdu probably helps us save about 50 percent of labor costs, compared to Beijing and Shanghai.”
Mr Chua’s firm is among a rising number of Singapore-linked companies drawn to Sichuan province, where Chengdu is located in.
In June 2012, Singapore had a total of 454 projects in Sichuan, but this rose to 482 by end-2013 — a six percent increase. As of 2014, total Singapore investments in Chengdu reached US$650 million.
One of the most high-profile Singapore investments is the 1,000 hectare Singapore-Sichuan Hi-tech Innovation Park. It is the first large-scale Hi-Tech park jointly developed by Singapore and Sichuan.
CEO of Singapore-Sichuan Hi-tech Innovation Park Mr. Cui Wei said: “For the first 30 years, China’s reform and opening up was mostly in the coastal regions, but for the next 30 years, probably the western region will play a more important role.”