Dongguan official invites direct investment

by Mariko Kato

A vice mayor of the Chinese industrial city of Dongguan urged Japanese manufacturers Friday to expand on its turf and exploit its domestic market to help the city recover from the global economic crisis and fall in exports.

“We are looking for more Japanese manufacturers to build R&D (research and development) centers in our city and create domestic brands, securing distribution routes,” Jiang Ling, vice mayor of Dongguan in Guangdong Province, said at a news conference in a hotel in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

Ling was speaking to reporters in conjunction with a seminar held by the city the same day for executives of Japanese firms to explain Dongguan’s corporate policies.

It initially held similar seminars back in the city but failed to lure Japanese businesses as much as it hoped. By holding the seminar in Japan, it now hopes more high-ranking executives will be interested in investing in Dongguan.

Dongguan also wants to lure Japanese nonmanufacturers in distribution, technical design and quality inspection into its market, as well as those in finance or insurance, he said.

This venture is part of a national endeavor to improve the industrial structure in China, according to Ling.

“Since the global economic crisis, the (Chinese) government has been developing new policies. Although it is difficult for the market to recover immediately, we are making a lot of effort.”

There are over 500 Japanese companies already in Dongguan, 99 percent of them manufacturers of electronics, IT products and cars, including electronics firm Pioneer Co., according to Ling. The city’s main rivals include the provincial capital of Guangzhou, which has established financial and service industries, he added. Dongguan is located in the Pearl River Delta, and borders Guangzhou to the north and Shenzhen to the south.

According to Ling, Dongguan was badly affected by the global recession because it relies heavily on export-oriented manufacturing industries. Although it had export growth of some 20 percent a year during the 1990s up until 2005, the figures have declined since last year, recording a 14 percent drop this year, he said.