Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China fell in March for a fifth straight month, largely on account of the continuing fallout from the European debt crisis. However, foreign investors are still confident about doing business in China.
Over the past two decades, Robert Theleen has invested more than $500 million in China, and in all that time, Theleen said he has never been more optimistic about the business environment here.
Theleen said, "I think you see that U.S. companies are comfortable here, the infrastructure development has really allowed American companies to go from coastal to inland."
Despite slack performance from European investors in the first quarter of the year, investment from the United States in China grew by more than 10 percent compared with the same period last year. What's more, Theleen said that increasingly this U.S. investment is going into higher-margin products.
Theleen said, "In China for China. People are not coming here to make a product to export through low cost labor, and that's one of the reasons also in the analysis of FDI that that's going down, but that's the kind of investment China doesn't need."
A report by the American chamber of commerce in Shanghai shows 80 percent of U.S. companies in China reported revenue growth in 2011. Despite the challenges of rising costs and increasing competition, China continues to be a bright spot for companies doing business around the globe.
Hu Wei with Borouge said, "Considering the growth potential, considering the number of people who can afford more quality products, I think China is one of the very important markets not only for Borouge, but also other companies."
The plastics maker just invested some $60 million in a manufacturing plant in Shanghai. China's economy expanded 8.1 percent in the first quarter, the slowest in almost three years. But looking ahead, both Hu and Theleen are confident that China's continuing economic reform will ensure that overseas companies will be increasing their investments and market share here.(CNTV.cn April 19, 2012)