As a pioneer in western China’s opening-up, Chengdu, the home of giant pandas, is favoured by an increasing number of multinational companies.
Savills, an international real estate company, has had a subsidiary in the city for 10 years and is expanding its business in western China from its Chengdu headquarters.
“Chengdu offers access to a huge market,” said Eric Wo, managing director of Savills Western China.
He said Chengdu is blessed with rich business opportunities as it is a key junction in the Belt and Road and China’s central government recently designated it a national central city.
“The city is becoming a key hub for the economy, technology, cultural creativity, international exchanges, and transport. And since it is located in the centre of Southwest China, within a one hour flight you can arrive at nearby provincial capitals including Xi’an, Kunming and Guiyang.”
He said the company’s western China branch is exploring new growth methods and is likely to set up new subsidiaries.
Albert Lau, CEO of Savills China, said the company’s board will support the expansion of its business in Chengdu and the western region. He made the remarks at the 10th anniversary of the opening of its western China branch last month.
Savills launched its Chinese business in 1995 in the eastern coastal cities. Then in 2006, it expanded to Chengdu, in line with China’s go-west campaign, Mr Lau said.
Savills Western China grew rapidly and witnessed the great success of Chengdu.
Savills’ business in western China has maintained growth of 20 percent annually, according to the company. Savills Western China’s team expanded from six people at the very beginning to more than 1,000 currently, offering clients a full range of integrated property services.
New technology, higher quality
Chengdu’s GDP was worth 1 trillion yuan (￡114.23 billion) last year. In addition, the number of Fortune Global 500 companies that have a presence in the city increased to 278 by the end of November.
One of the earliest IT giants to establish a presence in the city, Intel Corp, announced on Nov 18 that its advanced test technology facility in Chengdu Hi-Tech Zone has begun high-volume production.
The new technology is a major innovation for Intel’s supply chain, resulting in better products, significantly improved flexibility, and a reduced manufacturing cycle time.
In December 2014, Intel announced plans to invest up to $1.6 billion (￡1.3 billion) over the coming 15 years to upgrade its Chengdu plant. The advanced test technology facility is part of that upgrade programme.
Ann B. Kelleher, corporate vicepresident and general manager of the Technology and Manufacturing Group at Intel, said the investment showcases the company’s support and commitment to China’s national manufacturing strategy Made in China 2025 and the go-west campaign.
Bian Chenggang, vice-president of Technology and Manufacturing Group at Intel Corp and general manager of Intel Chengdu, said Chengdu has become a major hi-tech hub in China and one of Intel’s critical supply chain nodes.
“The new investment of $1.6 billion in Chengdu will upgrade and evolve the local hi-tech ecosystem and industry to the next level, which will greatly benefit economic growth and development,” he said.
Centre for youth and culture
Chengdu has emerged as the fourth pole of China’s IT industry, after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Some IT giants from around the world have set up operations in the city, including Dell, Texas Instruments, Siemens, IBM and Ubisoft.
Honor, a largely online-based smartphone brand of Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies Co, opened its first experience store in China in Chengdu on Oct 29.
Zhao Ming, head of operations at Honor, said his company chose Chengdu because it is one of the most dynamic hub cities in China, and is a centre for youth culture, which is consistent with its brand concept.
“You can see so many innovations in so many aspects of the city, from its economy and commerce to its culture,” he said.
Mr Zhao said he will work hand in hand with local business partners to strengthen Honor’s offline layout in the city.
Mr Wo, managing director of Savills Western China, said he loves Chengdu because of its character.
“It integrates the inclusiveness of Hong Kong, the diversity of Beijing, the art atmosphere of Shanghai and the richness of Guangzhou. This combination enchanted me from the beginning.”
Mr Wo and his wife wander around the city on weekends to experience the culture of Chengdu and its comfortable lifestyle. During holidays, they take their two daughters to sightseeing spots.
“My daughters love the Chengdu pandas. They think they’re friendly, cute and lovely. That is just like Chengdu. You can fall in love with both pandas and Chengdu at first sight.”
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