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REGIONSASIA-PACIFIC


INVESTMENT INTO THE COUNTRY HAS HIT A NEW RECORD LOW, FALLING AGAIN FROMLAST YEAR’S NUMBERS


FDIintoChina athistoriclow


CHINA


Greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) into China hit a historic low in the first six months of 2021, according to preliminary fDi Markets data, beating its previous record low in the first half of 2020. Only 177 greenfield projects


were announced by foreign investors in China between January and June this year, slightly down fromthe 191 projects over the same period of 2020. This made H1 2021 the worst H1 for greenfield FDI into China on record. Yet, relative to other


destinations post-pandemic and due to its immense market, China comes fifth for greenfield FDI in the first semester of 2021 globally, trailing behind the US, the UK, Spain and Germany. Over the course of 2020, the


government moved to open up certain sectors, while strengthening its screening mechanisms on the basis of national security. The Foreign Investment Law,


which came into effect in January 2020, aimed to improve China’s business environment for foreign investors. The government’s negative list of restricted sectors was shorter in 2020 as restrictions in the life insurance, financial services and automotive sectors were lifted. But in December last year,


China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced new details for foreign investment screening on the basis of national security, with most notable implications for technology companies. The biggest greenfield project


recorded by fDi in H1 2021 was Hong Kong-based GCL-Poly Energy Holdings’ announcement in March that it will invest $2.78bn into a new factory located in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, set to


64


$1.7bn for Yanolja Travel


The South Korean travel and leisure company Yanolja announced on July 15 that the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank has investedWon2tn ($1.7bn) into the company through its Vision Fund 2. Yanolja said it plans to put the


money towards technological development, namely in artificial intelligence (AI), so as to stay competitive. Founded in 2005, the company has become South Korea’s fastest growing online travel company, achieving ‘unicorn’ status in 2019 when it closed a series-D $180m funding round. It counts Booking Holdings and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC as some of its existing investors. Greg Moon, managing partner at


SoftBank Asia, said in a statement: “Yanolja is a leader in innovating the Korean travel and leisure industry through an AI-driven leisure super app strategy. We are delighted to work with Yanolja to lead innovation in the leisure industry.” SoftBank was the sole investor in


The food and drinks sector remains one of China’s most heavily invested-in by foreign entities


be a joint venture with solar manufacturer Shangji Automation. In the same month, Taiwanese


chip giant Foxconn said it will invest in a new industrial park in Zhoukou, Henan province, to develop and produce key parts for handsets, tablets and laptops, creating up to 30,000 jobs. South Korea-based Hyundai announced it will invest $1bn to build its first overseas hydrogen fuel cells factory in Guangzhou. In the first six months of 2021,


US companies recorded 53 projects, up from 41 last year, while its other big investors, Germany and Japan, recorded 19 and 15 projects, down from 27 and 21, respectively, in H1 2020. According to fDi Markets, the


biggest investments into China by sector remain unchanged: industrial equipment, chemicals, food and beverages, plastics and business services. ■ SETHO’FARRELL


this latest round.■ SETHO’FARRELL


Chinaopens uptoR&D


The ruling ChineseCommunist Party released a newset of guidelines on July 15 via the state-run Xinhua News Agency to support the “high-level reform and growth” of the Shanghai Pudong NewArea. These include a proposed tax


cut, taking the corporate income tax rate down from China’s standard 25% to 15% for companies engaged in artificial intelligence, chip manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals and civil aviation. Pudong has received more than


$100bn in foreign investment since the 1990s and is home to over 350 headquarters of multinational companies, and the only fully foreign-owned factory in China, Tesla’s gigafactory.■ SETHO’FARRELL


www.fDiIntelligence.com August/September 2021


$16BN


VALUEOFCROSS-BORDER IPOs INQ12021,ACCORDING TOUNCTADANDREFINITIV


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