Containers and cranes fill Yangpu Port in Yangpu Economic Development Zone, South China's Hainan province. [Photo/IC]
Meng Weiwei is busy checking factory quality, registering for a license and designing production lines ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year.
Meng is the general manager of Jia Green Chocolate Works (Hainan) Co., Ltd. in the Jiangdong new area of Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province. He said that his project is expected to be put into production in the spring.
"It will be the first foreign-invested production line for chocolate-related products in Hainan," he said.
With a total area of 298 square kilometers, the Haikou Jiangdong New Area is located on the east coast of Haikou. The province is building the area into a pilot zone to deepen reform and opening-up.
Last November, at the fourth China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Meng signed an agreement to locate the company in the Jiangdong new area. The firm will rely on preferential policies of the Hainan Free Trade Port to build a "creative chocolate industrial base" integrating production and processing, cultural creativity, image display, tourism and consumption.
"We mainly produce and sell various kinds of handmade chocolate products with raw materials from places like Europe, America and Canada. The preferential tax policies in the free trade port are very conducive to the development of our company," Meng said.
The Hainan Free Trade Port will help him better explore opportunities in the Chinese market, Meng added.
China is navigating high-level opening-up at the Hainan Free Trade Port. Hainan has seen robust growth in foreign investment inflow as it continues to improve its business environment.
Total foreign investment into the island, in actual use, amounted to 3.5 billion U.S. dollars in the year 2021, up 16.2 percent year on year. The same year, 1,936 foreign-invested enterprises were newly established in the province, a year-on-year increase of 92.64 percent, according to the provincial department of commerce.
Authorities are also building the island as a national pilot zone for ecological civilization, which attracted foreign investment in this regard.
For instance, at the construction site of a project for the disposal of kitchen waste, workers are busy with their jobs.
The project is operated by ALBA Shenzhou (Hainan) New Energy Construction & Development Co., Ltd., which is controlled by global recycling company ALBA Group.
After landing in Hainan, ALBA Shenzhou continues to expand investment.
"We are building an engineering research and development center on the island and even plan to set up our Asia-Pacific headquarters here in the future," said Yao Jia, vice general manager of the company.
Thanks to preferential policies, more foreign capital in Hainan is flowing into the real economy. In 2021, the actual use of foreign investment in modern services and manufacturing in Hainan accounted for over 97 percent of the total.
Hainan will continue to open up to investment in a wider range and at a deeper level. Meanwhile, the free trade port will establish and improve mechanisms for fair competition and investor protection, and create a more attractive investment environment to attract more high-quality foreign-invested projects, according to the provincial department of commerce.