Workers install the component of a shield tunneling machine at the road transformation site in Tongzhou District of Beijing on December 25, 2020 (XINHUA)
Despite the freezing cold, construction on a museum, a theater, and a library in eastern Beijing's Tongzhou District is progressing in full swing.
The projects are set to be the landmarks of the district, designated as the Beijing Municipal Administrative Center. Two years after a detailed development plan for the administrative center was approved by the central government, the district has become a front-runner in attracting foreign investment and a highland clustering emerging industries.
In 2020, 71 foreign-invested enterprises landed in the district with multiple industries such as finance, culture and tourism, and science and technology gathering in the area.
Open and international
The Universal Beijing Resort, a China-U.S. joint venture, is expected to start operation in Tongzhou in May this year.
Tom Mehrmann, president and general manager of the Universal Beijing Resort, said over 100,000 people have participated in the construction of the park, with the collaboration of more than 500 top international and Chinese designers and artists.
The resort is the epitome of the opening-up of the Beijing Municipal Administrative Center. More and more foreign companies are optimistic about the location advantages of the administrative center and choose it as the first stop to settle in China.
"We chose to settle in the administrative center because we have confidence in the governance ability and efficiency of the local government, as well as China's financial development," said Huang Hong, head of the preparatory team of Ueda Yagi Money Broking (China) Co., Ltd, the first wholly foreign-owned money brokerage company in the Chinese mainland. It was established in the administrative center on Nov. 26.
"We believe we will be successful here," Huang said.
"During the company's application for the establishment, the relevant authorities, despite COVID-19, completed the review of the company and approval of the establishment within a very short period of time, which was hailed by the Japanese parent company," Huang added.
Huang, who has worked in European and Asian financial markets for many years, said China has resolutely contained the COVID-19 epidemic and its economy has taken the lead in recovery, adding that the current openness and activity of China's financial market are unprecedented and attractive to foreign investors.
In the future, the company will take advantage of the incentives for innovation in the administrative center and continue to improve product lines and business systems to provide well-rounded services to both domestic and foreign customers.
In addition to Ueda Yagi, the Refinitiv Financial Technology Information Services (China) Group Co., Ltd. has also recently completed its registration, becoming the first China headquarters of a wholly foreign-owned financial technology company in the administrative center.
With its positioning as a national comprehensive demonstration zone of service industry opening-up and pilot free trade zone, the Beijing administrative center is increasingly attractive to overseas financial institutions.
Photo taken with a mobile phone shows the business district along the Grand Canal in Tongzhou District of Beijing on August 20, 2020 (XINHUA)
In the first 10 months of 2020, the actual utilization of foreign investment totaled 565 million U.S. dollars, exceeding the annual target in advance, statistics showed.
Cluster of competitive industries
Hit hard by the COVID-19 epidemic outbreak at the beginning of 2020, Terminus Group, a high-tech company engaged in the research on artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, received timely help from local authorities of the administrative center where the company had moved in earlier 2019.
As stated in the district's preferential policies, companies will be rewarded with incentive payments in the early and later stages of their development since their settlement in the area.
Terminus was offered 6 million yuan ($ 926,400) to tide over the difficulties, said Xie Chao, vice president of the company.
"What we value most are the opportunities in the administrative center. Especially under the backdrop of the digital economy, the district will become a pioneer in building a new-type digital eco-city," Xie said.
Over the years, the district has phased out backward production capacity and undertaken some of the functions of the central urban area of Beijing to help address problems including traffic congestion and air pollution.
"Companies like ours will benefit from a string of policies that focus on expanding the opening up of the service industry and setting up a free trade pilot zone in Beijing," Xie added.
As one of Beijing's "two new wings" along with the Xiong'an New Area, the administrative center has become a model of quality-driven development by gathering a variety of superior resources.
The district, which aims to accommodate 1.3 million permanent residents by 2035, has witnessed the settlement of headquarters of centrally-administered state-owned enterprises, branches of state-owned commercial banks, high-tech companies, a national cybersecurity industrial park, and a human resource service park.
The district has made a preliminary review of over 600 major projects with a total investment of more than 800 billion yuan, covering infrastructure, public service, and industries, according to Zeng Zanrong, Party chief of Tongzhou District.
"In the following five years, we aim to maintain an annual investment of over 100 billion yuan," Zeng said.