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Zhejiang releases first annual report on foreign-related business environment

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: June 21, 2024 L M S

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Rosemberg Cadena from Colombia speaks at a seminar in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on June 18. [Photo provided by China Chamber of International Commerce Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce]

The China Chamber of International Commerce Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce (CCOIC Zhejiang) held a seminar in Hangzhou on June 18 to release the Zhejiang Provincial Foreign-related Business Environment Evaluation Report 2023.

In 2023, Zhejiang's use of foreign capital exceeded $20 billion for the first time, reaching $20.2 billion, a 4.8 percent increase year-on-year. Foreign investment in manufacturing rose by 85.8 percent, a historic high.

The report was developed after a thorough evaluation which took place from August 2023 to March 2024. These efforts included on-site surveys of 695 foreign-invested enterprises in Zhejiang, 44 discussion sessions, and 1,259 valid questionnaires.

The report reveals high satisfaction with Zhejiang's business environment, which received scores of over 97 percent across 12 indicators. Satisfaction with taxation, cross-border trade, business closure processes, market competition, and market access exceeded 99 percent.

According to the report, 36 percent of surveyed enterprises saw an "increase" or "significant increase" in their investment returns in Zhejiang in 2023, while 48 percent reported stable returns. Companies from the European Union and the United States showed strong profitability and confidence in future investments over the next five years.

However, foreign enterprises also reported challenges. Specifically, 67 percent of companies cited increasing labor costs as the primary challenge, 19 percent pointed to the need for better employee skills, and 42 percent noted labor shortages.

Non-commercial challenges included regulatory and environmental issues. There were calls for better industry regulations and improved investment policies.

During the seminar, representatives from foreign business entities and overseas business institutions in Zhejiang discussed these challenges and suggested ways to improve the business environment.