LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned online network of professionals, has tied up with Sichuan province's Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, which brands itself as CDHT, to launch "In West", an innovation project to attract more investment from both home and global markets.
LinkedIn has tailor-made In West for CDHT. The project leverages LinkedIn's global platform to showcase Chengdu's international business environment. Using digital marketing methods and other e-tools, the program establishes connections between the city and business decision-makers across the world. This helps them to find new opportunities in the changing landscape.
LinkedIn also plans to help more Chinese firms expand overseas in the post-COVID phase, in line with China's recent policy measures to stimulate investment and foreign trade flows.
The pandemic-related decline in demand for goods in many parts of the world has caused concern to Chinese companies. They wonder how to better integrate into the global market.
Using platforms such as In West, LinkedIn hopes to make a difference. "In addition to building an official platform for the zone, we will help CDHT in many different fields, including company information, industry trends, talent demand, as well as financing needs of many companies in the zone," said Vianne Cai, head of marketing solutions at LinkedIn China.
"The 'In West' innovation project will mark a milestone in cooperation between LinkedIn and CDHT.We also hope to continue providing commercial organizations with international marketing solutions that help them build their brands both in Chinese markets and those across the world."
Based on a thorough analysis of business characteristics and investment requirements, LinkedIn matches marketing resources and channels, and customizes promotional content based on various marketing scenarios to showcase the zone's advantageous business market to help it to break through traditional geographic restrictions, and accurately reach the world's business decision-makers. As a result, the zone has attracted many foreign-funded enterprises for a wide range of exchanges and cooperation.
To date, CDHT has 2 million exposures on LinkedIn, and the average participation rate for promoted content is about 5 percent. The zone had gathered over 240 requests from different enterprises wanting to connect and learn more about its services, policy supports and industrial structure by August. Many overseas companies also arranged on-site tours and talks to further discuss businesses.
Chengdu has become a popular site for many multinationals to set up their secondary headquarters in the country. CDHT has concentrated high-quality resources of Chengdu's scientific and technological growth while focusing on promoting innovation. The zone has attracted more than 128 Fortune Global 500 companies so far.
Through this partnership, Linked-In plans to promote the service to more local governments in China, and eventually build new opportunities for international cooperation across the country, Cai said.
Supported by over 16,000 employees, the company had more than 706 million members from more than 200 countries and regions around the world by August-end, including over 51 million Chinese members. The platform now hosts 310,000 enterprise users in China and 50 million enterprise users globally.
Compared with traditional ways of attracting foreign investment, digitalization has changed business operations in a number of ways, said Cai, noting as a global social network that connects individuals and companies around the world, LinkedIn is willing to help them navigate these difficult times by strengthening their communication and cooperation with others based on the information and connections on its platform.
To attract more global capital, China has strengthened services and helps solve operational difficulties of global companies. The idea is to stabilize the long-term business confidence of foreign investors amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some of the policy adjustments directly related to the pandemic may ultimately prove to be temporary, the overall picture is likely to be one of structural change, rather than cyclical, with the pandemic helping to accelerate already existing trends, said Nanda Lau, head of the Shanghai office of international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.
In contrast, China is among the few countries that have progressively opened parts of their economies to foreign direct investment and streamlined their screening processes. This is well illustrated by the new Foreign Investment Law and the new negative list implemented in the first half of the year, said Lau.
Xie Wen, director-general of the goods and services tax department under the State Taxation Administration, said the government will continue to implement preferential tax and fee policies for Chinese exporters as well as foreign companies to ease their operational pressure in the second half of the year.