Two years ago, at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), the "two zones", namely the Integrated National Demonstration Zone for Opening up the Services Sector and the China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone, were launched. At this year's CIFTIS, which marked the second anniversary of the "two zones", Beijing published its achievements along the way. Over the past two years, Beijing has advanced reform and opening-up as a powerful driving force for high-quality development, aligned with high-standard international economic and trade rules, and continued promoting institutional innovation. In total, Beijing has rolled out more than 30 pioneering policies ahead of other places in China, launched more than 140 functional and service platforms, and offered more than 60 practices of reform and innovation as templates for the rest of the country, thereby helping to create a more international and law-based business environment. Beijing has also attracted a number of renowned institutions from home and abroad as well as high-end resources, gaining strong impetus for its high-quality economic development.
Attracting Investment through Platforms for Opening-up
Intelligent educational technologies that can help solve difficulties in students' learning, provide exercises, and check answers made their debut; cloud-based intelligent service robots amused the audience by performing drama; and achievements in digital construction and in the export of services were displayed. The fruits of the "two zones" could be seen in every venue at this year's CIFTIS.
According to the recently published 2022 Beijing Investment Development Report, Beijing has made new headway in attracting foreign investment. In 2021, Beijing's foreign investment disbursed reached USD 14.43 billion, the third highest in history, accounting for about 8.3% of the national total. The number of newly established foreign-invested enterprises reached 1,924, a peak since 2008, accounting for around 4% of the national total. The China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone utilized nearly 90% of the total foreign investment disbursed in Beijing, fully tapping the potential of the Free Trade Zone and similar platforms in attracting investment.
Over the past two years, the "two zones" have attracted a growing number of businesses, with more than 250 overseas enterprises and over 200 regional headquarters of multinational corporations joining the initiatives. The "two zones" have given Beijing a greater appeal as an ideal destination for foreign investment.
Joakim Weidemanis, Executive Vice President at Danaher Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, said that with continuous progress of the "two zones", Beijing has created great opportunities for foreign-funded enterprises by opening up at a higher level. Danaher will seize the new opportunity and engage in in-depth cooperation with Beijing in public health, translational medicine, gene therapy, cell therapy, and other fields.
Opening Wider to the World
With steady progress of the "two zones", Beijing will open its door wider to the world.
At the 2022 CIFTIS, the 10 most influential policies were unveiled, including the white list for imported items for biopharmaceutical research and development, a policy that can help solve the pain point in R&D for bio-pharmaceutical enterprises; the pilot program on the import of medicines through cross-border e-commerce and the parallel import of cars, a policy that aims at meeting consumers' needs for better products; policies on cash-pooling services that unify domestic and foreign currency management for multinational companies to facilitate cross-border trade and investment; and the system for recognizing professional qualifications acquired overseas that helps attract global talent and facilitate talent flow.
"The Catalogue of Overseas Professional Qualifications Recognized by Beijing (Version 2.0) , which is an upgraded and expanded version compared to the previous one, was rolled out, once again releasing a positive signal that Beijing welcomes international professionals," said Zhang Dongmei, Director General of the Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. Under the new Catalogue, 110 overseas professional qualifications, including a number of "high-value" ones, can be recognized in Beijing, an increase from 82 in the previous version.
Meng Jingwei, District Mayor of Tongzhou, said that the district has planned and developed a number of high-quality industrial and functional platforms such as Zhangjiawan Design Town, Taihu Performing Arts Town, and Songzhuang Artistic Creation Town which have attracted and fostered key businesses of the "Two Zones". Up to now, 1,040 high-tech enterprises have established presence in Tongzhou. "Tongzhou District has also taken the lead in Beijing in publishing a list of projects covering 15 application scenarios in 3 categories, launching 28 demonstration projects of smart city, and rolling out a three-year action plan on the metaverse. With these efforts, we will see demand for a wider range of application scenarios and enormous business opportunities."
Expanding the Outreach of "Beijing Services"
Beijing's "two zones" are reaching out to more and more places around the world.
At this year's CIFTIS, the first group of 10 Global Liaison Offices of the "two zones" in countries including France, Austria, Belgium, Australia, and Canada were announced. These offices will be set up at overseas business associations such as Austrian-Chinese Business Association, Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership, as well as business service providers to help maintain positive interaction between the "two zones" in Beijing and high-end service enterprises around the world and their home cities.
In addition, eight institutions became the first Global Partners of Invest Beijing. "We will fully leverage the channels and resources of our global partners to attract more capital and talent from across the world that are in line with Beijing's positioning and can help strengthen Beijing's functions as the four centers," said Sun Yao, director of Beijing Investment Promotion Service Center.
Up to now, various sections of the China (Beijing) Pilot Free Trade Zone have set up service centers for investment promotion in 38 countries and regions across five continents. Together with the Global Liaison Offices of the "two zones", they form a network through which Beijing's services can reach the rest of the world. This network has not only extended the outreach of "Beijing services", but also provided an extensive mix of services for countries all over the world to invest in Beijing, participate in the "two zones", and share opportunities for cooperation and development.
"With the "two zones", Beijing is in a better position to connect with the world and align its economic and trade rules with high-standard international ones. This can help Beijing rise rapidly in global competition." said Ben Derudder, Associate Director at GaWC.
(Reporter: Ma Jing)