XSEDZ: Strategic Location, Innovation, Sustainability
Xishan Economic & Technological Development Zone (XSEDZ) was founded in 1992 in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province,before it was upgraded to a state- level economic & technological development zone in 2011. The XSEDZ consists of an area of 80 km² and is home to 120,000 people, including both domestic and foreign companies. The Investment Promotion Bureau of Xishan Economic & Technological Development Zone, is the first point of contact in Xishan for new investors. We asked Mr. Hua Longxing, Vice Director of XSEDZ Administrative Committee, and Ms. Tracy Zhang, Vice Director of the Investment Promotion Bureau, about the benefits, the promotion of innovation and trends within the zone as well as the role of their organization.
GSC: What are the advantages of Xishan as a place to invest besides the closeness to Shanghai?
Hua Longxing: First of all, a strategic location. Xishan is located in the middle of Yangtze River Delta, which is the most developed region in China. This region covers 1% of the total area, but contributes almost 25% of the nation's GDP. The unique position of Xishan guarantees investors easy access to the most promising market in China.
Secondly, a convenient transportation system. Shanghai-Nanjing highway and Wuxi-Zhangjiagang highway both run across Xishan. Besides the normal railway running from Beijing to the south cities, inter city express railway and Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway also run through Xishan. It takes 40mins to reach Shanghai railway station and 25 mins to Shanghai Hongqiao Transportation Hub respectively. It is around 25mins to reach Wuxi Sunan Shuofang International Airport from Xishan by car. This airport has flights to over 24 main cities in mainland China and flights to Hongkong, Macao, Taibei, Tokyo, Osaka，Jieju, Bankok and Singapore. Zhangjiagang port and Jiangyin port are around 35 minutes' drive away. Metro LIine II connects Xishan with the city center, greatly ensuring the convenient transportation for daily commuters.
Thirdly, a solid industrial base. Wuxi has developed its industry since early 1930s and has long been the great subcontractor to Shanghai, especially in machinery and electronics. It is easier for a company to find local suppliers or explore local opportunities.
Fourthly, an abundant space to develop. After years' development, many zones have felt the pressure of less space for future development, while Xishan still has enough space for future development. Up to now, it still has area of around 25 sq km, which means within 10 years, we can still meet the demand from both the new incomers and existing companies.
And, last but not least, an experienced team. After over two decades' development, our team has accumulated a lot of experience with foreign companies and is familiar with all the practice related with the establishment of a company. With the firm grasp of current policy, our team can help investors to go through almost all issues from the start-up till the operation. To build up a transparent and efficient investment environment is the consistent target of Xishan government.
GSC: What are the incentives of the Xishan Economic & Technological Development Zone Investment Promotion Bureau to attract Foreign Direct Investments?
Hua Longxing: Based on the tax contribution of each company, Xishan EDZ will provide certain financial support to the tax payers. For new comers, we can give special offer on rent or land price after a thorough evaluation.
GSC: Do these incentives focus on specific industries? If yes, which industries would benefit most?
Hua Longxing: We greatly encourage IT, precision machinery, high-end equipment manufacture, auto parts to develop here. But we also high evaluate those newly emerged industries, like e-vehicles, new energy, biomedical, etc.
GSC: Innovative products within the branch of medical technology are demanded more than ever. The current Five-Year plan for Medical Technology aims at the registration of 200 new key patents and the establishment of a number of science and technology zones and technical R&D platforms. What else does the government do in order to promote these innovations? Do they include any specific benefits for foreign investors?
Hua Longxing: Medical equipment and pharmaceuticals are gaining more and more attention and all Chinese governments welcome the industries. Xishan is not an exception. Take Xishan for example, we have set up our sci-tech park to help the incubation of any medical innovations. In the park, we have attracted several medical companies engaged in the production of testing tools, surgery tools, etc. Once the project passes our evaluation, we help the innovators to set up the company, with certain portion of shareholding if needed. Foreign investors can expect being treated fairly.
GSC: On your website you state that the S-PARK (Science & Technology City) of Xishan should become an "international and innovative new town (…) featuring hi-tech products and innovative talents". How exactly are innovations promoted in the Xishan region?
Hua Longxing: Every year we allocate certain fund to those promising projects and we help the inventors with the application of patents and related financial support from senior level governments. We also finance certain R&D projects with famous domestic universities and institutions. Enterprises in the zone can get certain economic reward for any innovation work.
GSC: Do you have any suggestions for potential investors? What should they necessarily consider when they would like to enter the Chinese market?
Hua Longxing: A lot of foreign companies would carefully select the location for their presence in China. Therefore they would evaluate a lot of factors before the decision. Of course, the logistics position, transportation convenience, human resources and local economy are fundamentally important. Personally I think that the local government environment is more important. One can never imagine what would happen next second, but can choose to have easy access to solution. A transparent, internationalized and efficient government can be the best solution.
GSC: Sustainability is becoming a major issue for many companies. You also work under the premise to protect the environment when it comes to expanding the Xishan EDZ. What exactly are your measures to do so?
Tracy Zhang: Firstly, we put more attention to the environment protection issue in Xishan EDZ. All enterprises would have to get permission first from environment protection department before they can set up their presence in the zone. And Xishan EDZ has established two sewage water plants with daily capacity of 90,0000tons and 50,000 tons respectively. And such sewage system fully covers the zone. All waste water from each company will be collected by such system and transported to the plants, from where it will get treatment before discharged to rivers.
Secondly, we apply certain control over the development of the land in the zone to guarantee the efficiency of the development. Only when companies reach certain investment density and taxation contribution, they can get certain size of the land. Those projects with bigger investment but requiring less land are highly valued and most encouraged.
GSC: Does the Xishan Investment Promotion Bureau also offer particular in-person help to foreign companies that have settled in the EDZ and seek support?
Tracy Zhang: In our zone, besides investment promotion bureau, economic development bureau and one-stop service center can also provide services and support. Once the company settles in, the contact person in investment promotion bureau will be named and any problems the company encounters can first turn to the contact person for help and he or she is responsible to transfer the problem to related department for solution or coordination. Usually we help our incomers to deal with Customs, Commodity Inspection & Quarantine bureau, tax bureau, industry & commerce bureau, foreign currency management bureau, etc.
GSC: Thank you very much, Mr. Longxing and Ms. Zhang, for his informative interview.
More information: www.xsedz.gov.cn