BEIJING - Several heavyweight foreign investors have expressed their willingness to continue investing in southwest China's Chongqing, saying the recent reshuffle of the city's top officials has not affected their confidence in doing business there.
The world's leading PC vendor Hewlett-Packard (HP) signed an agreement earlier this week to set up a new printer and imaging equipment manufacturing facility in Chongqing, which is expected to produce 30 million ink-jet printers each year once completed.
Major manufacturing for HP will be completed by the Taiwanese contract electronics maker Foxconn Technology Group, which also considers Chongqing as a strategic location for its mainland business operations.
During a meeting on Wednesday with Zhang Dejiang, China's vice premier and newly appointed Chongqing Party chief, HP CEO Meg Whitman said Chongqing is a main focus of HP's business in China.
HP, which has been operating in Chongqing since 2005, will further strengthen its close working relationship with the city, increase investment there and promote the smooth development of industrial cooperation in cloud computing technology, security systems and mass data analysis and processing, Whitman said.
Zhang Dejiang replaced Bo Xilai to become the city's top official, after a decision by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on March 15.
As Bo is suspected of being involved in serious disciplinary violations, the CPC Central Committee on April 10 decided to suspend his membership in the Central Committee and its Political Bureau. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will file his case for investigation.
Bo's wife, Bo-Gu Kailai, and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at their home, have been transferred to the judicial authorities on suspicion of homicide.
Nevertheless, foreign companies in Chongqing said business was so far unaffected, although foreign investors were usually sensitive to the political stability and environment.
Chongqing's Changan Suzuki Automobile Co., Ltd, a joint venture with the Japanese auto maker, has expanded its production base recently, with an initial investment of 2.3 billion yuan (365 million US dollars), which is expected to provide 3,000 jobs.
Its annual production capacity will leap to 500,000 in 2016 once the expansion is complete, said the company's administration manager Lei Ming, adding that its current manufacturing capacity of 250,000 is "almost saturated."
Lei Ming said his company's foreign leaders are optimistic about their business growth in Chongqing.
Late last week, Chongqing hosted a high-level hi-tech fair which attracted 2,100 businesses, government agencies and research institutions from across China and from over 30 foreign countries.
During the event, companies from the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan amongst others, inked cooperation deals with local companies on smart grids, green materials, clean coal and industrial robotics, with a series of international leading proprietary technology introduced to Chongqing.
While meeting a visiting delegation of Hong Kong-based Wharf (Holdings) Limited in Chongqing on March 28, Zhang Dejiang said the city will further improve its policies to optimize the investment environment and increase its service level so as to create more favorable conditions for overseas companies investing in Chongqing.
On April 4, while meeting a delegation of petroleum chemical makers, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Zhang said Chongqing's development is at a critical stage and it must further open up to the world to create a sound investment environment for foreign businesses.
According to the Chongqing Daily, the delegation led by the chairman inspected the progress of the construction of an engineering thermal plastic production base and discussed cooperation prospects with the municipal government.