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US firms keen to invest in China

AFTER 20 years of doing business in China, US medical technology firm Medtronic chose Shanghai as the site for its first bioprosthetic heart valve manufacturing site outside the America.

"The manufacturing site represents... a positive collaboration between Medtronic and our local business partners to increase healthcare access," said Omar Ishrak, chairman and CEO of Medtronic. The Shanghai site opened at the end of March.

Ishrak said the 13 million-US-dollar plant in Shanghai is one of Medtronic's most advanced facilities for processing and production of bioprosthetic valves. It produces bioprosthetic valves, which are used for treatment to restore heart's normal blood flow.

Medtronic's heart valve manufacturing site in China is the company's another development plan deepening footprint in this market. This follows other important investments including the blood dialysis systems and insulin pumps projects in Chengdu.

US companies expect better US-China economic ties to benefit their businesses.

Joe Mastrangelo, president and CEO of GE Power's Gas Power Systems, has followed the development of China's electricity industry closely.

In March, the US company teamed up with Harbin Electric Corporation to establish a joint venture, each holding a 50 percent stake. The joint venture, with a registered capital of 667 million yuan (97 million US dollars), produces the world's advanced gas turbines and parts.

The new firm will be based in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, north China.

Mastrangelo said they are confident in the joint venture, in cooperative partners and in the China market.

In addition to furthering investment, established US firms like Apple are also looking to China's abundant talent pool.

Apple announced in March it would establish two additional R&D centers in Shanghai and Suzhou, joining centers previously announced in Beijing and Shenzhen.

"By expanding our plans for R&D centers in China, we look forward to working collaboratively with even more local partners and academic institutions," said Dan Riccio, Apple senior vice president of Hardware Engineering.

"The talent and entrepreneurial spirit in China is incredible, and we are fortunate to be working with these developers and suppliers as we grow our presence here," said Riccio.

China has been loosening the grip on the inflow of foreign capital as part of efforts to facilitate its opening up, reducing restrictive measures and opening more sectors. In 2016, laws on foreign investment were amended, and measures were unveiled to simplify the approval procedure for foreign companies.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, China utilized some 126 billion US dollars of foreign investment in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 4.1 percent, while global foreign direct investment plummeted.

By the end of 2016, US companies had invested nearly 80 billion US dollars in 67,000 projects in China, accounting for 7.8 percent of China's approved foreign-funded enterprises and 4.5 percent of its actualized foreign investment. Around 90 percent of US companies in China have been profitable, according to a report released October by the US-China Business Council based Washington.


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