With the world overshadowed by the pandemic, geopolitical frictions and recessions, foreign businesses said they were heartened by the clear policy guidance in China.
Amid the many directives issued during last month's Central Economic Work Conference, which charted the Chinese economy's course for the coming year, the meeting reiterated the need to maintain policy support for economic recovery, avoid a sudden shift in policy, and keep economic growth within a reasonable range.
The dual circulation development pattern emerged as the overriding theme, with innovation, opening-up and boosting domestic demand the key areas to mark the start of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). This development pattern sees domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulation reinforcing each other.
Covestro, which has benefited from China's pursuit of innovation and higher-quality growth, has upgraded its regional headquarters in Pudong New Area, Shanghai, to oversee functions such as investment, management, and research and development.
With the dual circulation pattern in place, pharmaceutical house AstraZeneca sees huge potential in China's community-level market, where quality medical resources remain scarce and unbalanced.
Leon Wang, executive vice-president of AstraZeneca and head of AstraZeneca China, said, "The Chinese government is committed to healthcare reform, which presents our company with not only a significant commercial opportunity, but the chance to deliver high-quality drugs and innovative solutions to more patients who need them."
In line with the new development pattern, the company is expanding its China headquarters in Shanghai to include R&D functions at an early stage and to contribute to the development of new drugs globally. It is also looking to set up regional headquarters across the country to incubate healthcare innovation in a more local context.
For example, it has earmarked Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, as a site for innovative solutions combining Chinese and Western medicine. Wang said such a move is evidence of the company's long-term commitment to China.