Canada drums up interest with 5-day road trip

Updated: 2015-04-03 11:31

By Yu Ran in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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Canada expects to see more Chinese investment in its high-tech, bio-tech and service sectors, a senior economist said at an investment forum in Shanghai.

A list of over 300 projects provided by Consider Canada City Alliance offers opportunities in food, biotech, IT, services, renewable energy and natural resources in 11 Canadian cities from Vancouver to Halifax.

"The economic focus of the Chinese government is undergoing a fundamental shift from an emphasis on export growth and investment in commodities to an emphasis on domestic consumption and investment in value-added manufacturing and services," Craig Wright, senior vice president and chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, said during the Canada Investment and Innovation Forum on March 25. It was part of a five-day series of forums in China.

Wright added that he has seen growing interest in service sectors like elderly care and financial services, especially for insurance companies.

China is Canada's second-largest trading partner and its eighth-biggest source of investment.

"We've seen that the flow of China-Canada foreign direct investment has increased quite substantially, but it's still in a very low base," said Wright.

Canada cut its combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate from 42.4 percent in 2000 to 26.3 percent in 2014, putting it 13 percentage points below the US, according to an official document.

Wright added that a weakening Canadian dollar has made it more profitable for Chinese investors to switch their attention to the country.

Several industries in which Canada has a competitive advantage were highlighted during the forum including biotech, technology and video gaming.

"Canada has the third-biggest video game industry in the world after the US and Japan, which both have larger populations," said Michael Schmalz, the chairman of Digital Extremes, a software developer for Xbox, PlayStation and PC in Canada.

Digital Extremes is making Asia 25 percent of its target market with a big focus on China, where the video game market is rapidly heating up.

Schmalz said his team has added dragons and other Chinese elements to their games to appeal to this growing demographic.

Canadian companies also got the opportunity to court potential investors at the forum.

"We're looking forward to welcoming more (Chinese companies) in the future as Canada is probably one of the least risky places for investing," said Wright.