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[Suzhou Vista]
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Open Economy and Development Zones

Traditionally the city of Suzhou has been the nation's important suppier of goods for export and a significant foreign trade seaport. After 1988, the continuous efforts to restructure the city's overall economy have led to the diversification of the types of foreign trade and the utilization of foreign funds on an unprecedented scale. New types of foreign trade like compensation trade and processing with supplied materials have expanded rapidly, also on the increase are the volume of direct capital investment, the amount of loans from international financial organizations and foreign governments, the scale of technology transfer and advanced equipments from foreign companies. Now, Suzhou ranks only second to Shanghai among the 13 large and medium-sized cities along the Yangtze Delta in terms of the supply of merchandise for export, the foreign trade volume, the number of enterprises with foreign funds, the amount of contract foreign investment and overseas representative offices and subsidiaries.
The inscription by Mr. Qiao Shi, Chairman of the National People's Congress

II. Foreign Trade

Recent years have witnessed impressive growth of foreign trade as well as of supply of goods for export. In 1993, the total value of supplied goods for export was RMB40.43 billion, nearly eight times the figure(RMB5.15 billion) for 1990; in 1994, Suzhou companies exported $2.25 billion in goods, an increase of 49.2% over 1993, and imported $0.29 billion in goods, an increase of 77.7% over 1993. The boost of foreign trade are characterized by the steadily and significant expansion of trade volume, the diversification of goods exported and the extended coverage of countries and regions. The city's export volume in 1994 represented 25% of the total export volume of Jiangsu province; now there are altogether 54 specialized import and export their own products, with Suzhou Textiles Import and Export Company and Suzhou Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Ltd. Being among the 500 largest import and export companies based on trade volume. The items of exported goods have increased from 158 in 1988 to 825 in 1994, and the items whose trade volume is over $1 billion has jumped by almost 10 times (from 7 to 67) during the same period. Items which sells over $10 million include brocades and pure silk goods, While goods whose annual sales are over $5 million is about 10 items like home electrical appliances, general silk articles, special arts and crafts man-made blended fabrics and etc. By 1994, Suzhou has developed and kept trade ties with 92 countries and regions, about four times the figure (24) for 1988, and in terms of import volume, Hongkong and Macao, Japan, Europe and American occupy 23% (down 29.3% compared with 1988), 29.9% (up 9.8%) and 29.57%(up 20.37%) respectively, indicating an increased flow of goods into western developed countries.

III. Foreign Investment

The significant growth of the inflow and utilization of foreign investment testifies to the positive diversification of Suzhou's overall economic structure. By 1994, there are altogether 7469 foreign-funded enterprises whose contract foreign investment reach $14.25 billion, and in the year 1994 alone, foreign companies announced about $4.53 billion in capital investment in over 1,200 new operations. The export volume of these enterprises jumped 33.6% from 1993 to 1994.
Suzhou Matsushita Electric Co., Ltd.(Japan)
The tole of the enterprises with foreign investment goes beyond providing large amount of funds and creating numerous new jobs. They are also very conducive to and actually have speeded up the optimization of the city's industrial structure, product mix and technical pattern as well as the introduction of foreign managerial expertise. The enterprises with foreign capital can be roughly classified into the following types.
Phillips Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd.(Netherlands)
1. joint ventures. With the introduction of considerable foreign funds, advanced technology and managerial expertise, new blood are injected into Suzhou enterprises that are usually short of funds and whose profitability has been chronically affected by their relatively outdated technology and management. To date, an array of about 50 internationally respected companies has set up joint ventures with Chinese partners in Suzhou, such as America's General Motors, DuPont and the Warner's, Japan's Panasonic, Sharp and Toyota, the Netherlands' Philip, Germany's Siemens, France's Alsthon. That list goes on and on, and continues to grow, too.
Street View of Kunshan Industrial Park
2. Operations on leased land. A series of preferential policies have set out to encourage foreign investors to lease a round piece of state-owned land for a certain period (at most 50-70 years) in the city's Economic and Technological Development Zone and set up new operations there in. Kunshan Economic and Technological Development Zone is the first of its kind in Jiangsu Province which is set up to experiment with such non-gratitious lease of stated-owned land. From 1989 to present, the zone has attracted many foreign companies from America, Japan, South Korea, Hongkong and Taiwan to locate their new projects on the land leased by them. Now within the zone, there already exist five industrial parks developed by foreign investors, such as Japanese Industrial Park and American Industrial Park, each with an area of 33.3 hectares. 3. Operations in real estate and tourism. Up to now, there are about 39 real estate development companies with foreign capital which have invested $234 million ($116 million from foreign investors) in about 49.41 hetares of land. Among those projects are three tourist holiday resorts located at Suzhou Taihu Lake, Kunshan City and Fenghu Lake in Wujiang City.

IV. Overseas Economic and Technological Cooperation

The openness of Suzhou's economy lies not only in the city's embrace of foreign funds, technology and management, but also in its export of skilled work force, sometimes funds and technology, and its overseas subsidiaries. The year 1994 saw records of $90.53 million work force contract and $60.05 million operational income, an increase of 74%and 34.6% over 1993 respectively. By 1994, There have been 280 overseas offices and subsidiaries of Suzhou companies with locations in over 60 countries and regions (many in Hongkong). The significance of those offices and subsidiaries is manifold. Through them, many Suzhou companies have got more and larger export export orders, many local manufacturers have found foreign partners who would like to provide necessary capital and technology and who will benefit from this cooperation.
Danaklon a,s (Denmark)

V. Development Zone

The construction of development zones is part of the local government's important strategic plans for strengthening the city's economy. the first development zone is Kunshan Economic and Technological Development Zone set up in 1985. At present, the development zones in Suzhou comprise of five state-level zones and nine provincial-level zones, namely, Suzhou Industrial Park, Suzhou New Area, Kushan Economic and Technological Development Zone, Park of Zhangjiagang Bonded Area, Suzhou Taihu Lake State's Holiday Resort (these five being state-level zones), Changshou Economic Development Zone, Zhangjiagang Development Zone, Taichang Economic Development Zone,Taichan Port of Liujia Development Zone, Wuxian Economic Development Zone, Wujiang Economic Development Zone, Suzhou Hushuguan Economic Development Zone, Kunshan Tourist's Resort, Wujiang Fenhu Lake Tourist's Resort.
Up John Suzhou Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.(USA)
The accumulated investment in infrastructure hit RMB4.12 billion in 1994. The complete utilities like electric and transportation assures a favourable investment environment for domestic and foreign investors. Foreign-funded projects located in those development zones recorded $4.15 billion in capital investment, while the total funded invested in those zones reached $11.22 billion. By 1994, the aggregate value of industrial output hit RMB25.25 billion (about $8 Billion), about 38.6% of which is from enterprises with foreign funds. The role of development zone is evident in the figures above, and a strong future for the zones is ensured.

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