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Known for its time-honored book collections and its port that connects the world, Ningbo is a modern international port city and an important BRI city. Entering the new era, it has made full use of the advantages of an open and portbased economy to contribute to the implementation of the BRI.

(1) Recent policies of Ningbo to promote inward and outward investment

In the past years, Ningbo issued a series of policies and measures to attract investment from and encourage investment in Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). In 2015, the Ningbo Municipal People’s Government issued Several Opinions on Strengthening Comprehensive Cooperation with Central and Eastern European Countries; in March 2016, Ningbo Municipal Commission of Commerce and Ningbo Municipal Bureau of Finance jointly issued the Ningbo Administrative Measures for Subsidy for Economic and Trade Cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe Countries. Details are as follows:



For Ningbo enterprises that set up industrial parks in CEECs, cany out outward investment and contract overseas projects, loans that they have obtained from banks at home and abroad for one year or more for the relevant projects shall be given an interest rate discount of no more than 50% of the actual amount of interest paid in the previous year. The upfront expenses incurred shall be subsidized at a rate not exceeding 50% of the actual amount incurred in the previous year.


For Ningbo enterprises that set up industrial parks, logistics parks, resource development zones and commodity centers in CEECs, a lump sum subsidy shall be granted with an amount not exceeding 50% of the investment and construction expenses of the parks, with a maximum of RMB3 million. Eligibility for this subsidy shall be based on the Circular on Issuing Ningbo Measures for the Recognition of the Three Kinds of Overseas Bases (Trial) (YWJMJW [2014] No. 22).



For Ningbo enterprises that participated in investment and cooperation and trade promotion activities in CEECs organized by competent departments of Ningboor higher-level authorities in 2015, subsidy can be granted to cover no more than 50% of the international travel expenses, international inter-city transportation expenses, accommodation expenses, catering expenses, public and incidental expenses, visa insurance premium and other expenses, with a cap of RMB20,000 per person and two persons for each enterprise in one activity.



First, counties, cities and districts are encouraged to host representative offices of CEECs and a subsidy can be provided to cover no more than 50% of the expenses required to establish national-level representative offices of CEECs, with a cap of RMB500.000 for each representative office. Second, CEEC enterprises are encouraged to invest in Ningbo. For the new producer services enterprises (including R&D institutions) established in Ningbo by enterprises from CEE countries, a lump sum subsidy shall be granted according to the actual amount stated in the foreign capital verification report. Specifically, a maximum subsidy is RMB200.000 for projects involving less than US$3 million of foreign investment; a subsidy of up to RMB800,000 shall be granted for projects with an actual foreign investment of US$3 million (included) to US$15 million; a subsidy of up to US$1.5 million shall be granted for projects with an actual foreign investment of US$15 million (included) or more. Third, CEE investment projects that are in line with the industrial development plan of Ningbo will be provided with resource security in the aspects of land, water and electricity, capital, green channel of employment, and school entrance for employees’ children.



Ningbo supports the construction of CEEC industrial parks. The Ningbo Municipal Bureau of Finance earmarks RMB5 million per year to accelerate the construction of the CEEC logistics park in Ningbo Bonded Area and the CEEC featured industrial parks in Cixi, a county-level city under Ningbo, and to encourage all counties, cities and districts and development areas in Ningbo to formulate supporting policies for the foreign investment projects of CEECs. The CEEC industrial parks in the city that are clearly supported by the relevant documents of the municipal government shall be provided with a subsidy of no more than RMB1 million per year for the construction of the parks and foreign investment attraction.


Ningbo supports local enterprises to provide funds for their subsidiaries and affiliated companies in CEECs through overseas loans. Where a Ningbo enterprise invests in a CEEC, the upfront expenses, if less than US$3 million, can be directly provided by bank loans, or, if more than US$3 million, shall be filed

Regional investment analysis report 2015 107 with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange before seeking loans from a bank. Ningbo carries out the pilot reform of overseas M&A foreign exchange management; Ningbo enterprises that make overseas investment through M&A in CEECs need only to get a foreign exchange registration certificate before the transfer of funds for the M&A, while all other procedures can wait until later. Ningbo has the only cross-border loan pilot project in China, and encourages its banks to directly lend to institutions or individuals in CEECs. Investors from CEECs can settle foreign exchange for their capital in accordance with their actual business needs without restriction. Ningbo supports cooperation with financial institutions of CEECs to develop cross-border RMB direct investment business, offer letters of guarantee in RMB, and grant RMB loans for overseas projects. It supports the expansion of cross-border RMB cash pooling.



First, there is a simple service package for overseas investment. Ningbo enterprises may join a Sinosure investment insurance scheme to cover losses caused by political risks in their overseas investment activities and, in the meantime, Sinosure provides sendees such as risk assessment, risk warning, project tutoring, and country-specific consultation. These help reduce the uncertainties of the investment environment in an all-round way. This approach applies to projects with a contract value (or insured value) of less than US$10 million, as long as they do not involve sensitive industries specified in relevant national documents.

There is also the medium- and long-term small insurance model. Specially designed for the going-global of Ningbo enterprises, it grants credit lines to buyers to cover large numbers of medium- and long-term overseas investment projects. The key point is to base risk evaluation on buyers through comprehensive analysis of factors such as the financial strength and experience of buyers and the countries involved, thus streamlining procedures required and reducing the insurance burden for enterprises. It provides more pertinent risk analysis and consulting and evaluation services for enterprises, but does not weaken the risk control of the insurance scheme itself. The medium- and longterm small insurance model requires no letter of intent, greatly shortening the time required from two or three months to one month and allowing enterprises to proceed with their projects faster and with better protection.

  • (2) Inward and outward investment of Ningbo in 2015

In terms foreign investment, in 2015, Ningbo approved 444 new foreign investment projects, a decrease of 5.1% year-on-year; utilized US$11,926 billion of foreign capital, down 11.7% year-on-year. The contractual foreign investment totaled US$7,654 billion and the amount actually utilized was US$4,234 billion,

an increase of 9.0% and 5.2% year-on-year respectively. Up to 18 new projects involved over US$100 million of new foreign investment (including capital increment), and the corresponding contractual foreign investment was US$1,703 billion, a year-on-year increase of 13.7%. Ningbo approved two new projects from Fortune Global 500 enterprises: Chevron Corporation invested US$160 million in a lubricant additive project (Phase I), making Ningbo its fifth lubricant additive manufacturing center in the world; China Resources of the Hong Kong SAR invested to establish Xiangshan China Resources Natural Gas Co., Ltd. for pipeline gas and bottled gas businesses in Xiangshan, and the total foreign investment was US$27.78 million.

In tenns of outward investment, in 2015, Ningbo approved 226 new overseas Chinese enterprises and institutions, an increase of 13.0% year-on-year with a total outward investment from the Chinese side amounting to US$2.511 billion, while the actual outward investment was US$1,277 billion, a year-on-year increase of 36.6% and 49.5% respectively. Up to 46 outward investment projects were over US$10 million in value, and the total investment involved was US$1.96 billion, accounting for 78.1% of the total. The turnover of overseas project contracting and labor cooperation of Ningbo enterprises reached US$1,907 billion; the total value of new contracts amounted to US$1.41 billion, including 12 projects above US$10 million in value; and the total contractual outward investment was US$700 million, accounting for 49.8% of the total value of new contracts signed by Ningbo enterprises. There were a total of 25 cross-border M&A projects, five more than the previous year, and the total value was US$250 million, an increase of 27.3% year-on-year. Ningbo Shuanglin Auto Parts Co., Ltd. paid US$100 million to acquire Australia’s DSI Holdings, the largest M&A project of Ningbo in 2015.

  • i) Foreign investment. The secondary industry utilized more than half of foreign investment in Ningbo while the share of the tertiary industry declined. In 2015, the actual utilization of foreign capital in the secondary industry in Ningbo was US$2,283 billion, an increase of 21.5% year-on-year, accounting for 53.9% of the total, up 7.2 percentage points over 2014. Specifically, the contractual foreign investment in the actual utilization of the oil refining, petroleum coking, and nuclear fuel processing industry reached US$300 million and US$333 million respectively, 2.6 and 7.7 times that of 2014 respectively. The contractual foreign investment and the actual utilization of foreign capital in the transportation equipment manufacturing industry reached US$1,357 million and US$884 million respectively, 4.8 and 12.3 times that of 2014 respectively. The Phase I and expansion project of Shanghai Volkswagen Ningbo Branch in the Hangzhou Bay Economic and Technological Development Zone, with a contractual foreign investment and the actual utilization of foreign capital of US$800 million, was the largest foreign investment project of Ningbo in recent years. The tertiary industry utilized US$1,937 billion of foreign capital, a decrease of 9.6% year-on-year. Specifically, the use of foreign capital in real estate, wholesale and retail sales

Regional investment analysis report 2015 109 industries decreased by 9.9% and 49.5% respectively year-on-year while that in scientific research, technical sendees and geological surveying, information transmission, software and computer services industries doubled, and the actual utilization of foreign capital in the two industries were 4.8 times and 3.5 times that of 2014 respectively. In the tertiary industry, the Jiuqintang elderly care project in Ninghai County was the first foreign-invested elderly care project; the first Taiwan-funded bank—Mega International Commercial Bank—settled in the Ningbo Eastern New Town in Jiangdong District, with a contractual foreign investment of US$160 million. The actual utilization of foreign capital in the primary industry was US$13.88 million, an increase of 3.5 times over 2014.

From a regional perspective, investment projects from the Hong Kong SAR decreased significantly, while European investment in Ningbo greatly increased. In 2015, Ningbo’s actual utilization of foreign capital from the Hong Kong SAR was USS2.196 billion, a decrease of 21.3% year-on-year, accounting for 51.9% of the city’s total, down by 17.4 percentage points over 2014. Investment from Europe increased sharply to US$913 million, 7.6 times that of 2014, including US$63.34 million from the UK and US$801 million from Germany, up 17-fold and 31-fold respectively. Investment also came from Demnark, Italy and Switzerland. The actual utilization of foreign capital from the United States was USS38.57 million, roughly the same as in 2014.

ii) Outward investment. From a regional perspective, Ningbo enterprises moved further into traditional markets and continued to explore emerging markets. In 2015, Asia was still the main destination for Ningbo enterprises, with a total investment of US$1.53 billion from the Chinese side and a turnover of US$850 million for overseas contracted projects, accounting for 61.0% and 44.5% of the city’s total, and representing an increase of 10.9% and 25% over the previous year respectively. In 2015, Ningbo enterprises invested in four new destination countries and regions, i.e., Finland, Kenya, Madagascar and Anguilla.

From the perspective of industries, the overseas investment in the tertiary industry increased rapidly and the structure of overseas contracted projects improved. In 2015, the outward investment in the tertiary industry, mainly the wholesale and retail sales industry and the cultural industry, grew rapidly, totaling US$1.73 billion, accounting for 68.9% of the city’s total, an increase of 57.3% year-on-year. Specifically, the construction industry made US$160 million of overseas investment, 10 times tire amount in 2014, greatly diversifying overseas contracted projects. The number of overseas contracted projects in the construction industry, including housing, power facilities, and manufacturing and processing facilities, increased greatly, with turnover of US$510 million, US$430 million and US$310 million respectively, up 26.9%, 22.6% and 16.3% year-on-year respectively.


In regard to enterprises, for one thing, Ningbo enterprises making overseas investment generally do not have clear strategies for overseas development andremain in the primary stage of going-global. In particular, most of the private enterprises, the main force of the going-global campaign, lack clear strategic planning and modem management systems. Some enterprises simply seek to avoid the fierce competition at home and they are not likely to succeed abroad. Some enterprises that want to master core industrial technologies through overseas M&A but fail to integrate, reorganize and manage the enterprise well after the M&A and face difficulty in utilizing advanced elements, for lack of experience in interacting with the outside world. Many enterprises are confronted with great investment risk when making cross-industrial investment overseas. Second, there is a lack of leading enterprises. As the mam players in the going-global campaign of Ningbo, private enterprises lack economic strength, funds, technology and management expertise to invest in large projects that can drive more enterprises abroad along the line, hi addition, private enterprises in Ningbo are mostly used to working alone like they usually do in China and lack the ability to cooperate for overseas projects. That is why they cannot thrive overseas. Third, the enterprises lack risk awareness. Most Ningbo enterprises who go global lack awareness of risks and insurance for overseas investment and their insurance coverage is usually insufficient. In the implementation of overseas projects, enterprises lack contact with the Chinese embassies and consulates in the host countries, which makes it difficult for the enterprises to seek protection and safety guidance. At the same time, a few enterprises might adopt non-standard ways of operation to a certain extent in overseas business operation, pushing up investment risks. Fourth, there is a shortage of international professionals. Relevant enterprises are seriously short of professionals for overseas investment and follow-up project management. Currently, there is a shortage of interdisciplinary talents who possess extensive expertise and service capability and can communicate in different languages while having a good understanding of the political, economic and cultural conditions of host countries. The lack of high-level talent affects the quality of overseas investment efforts and the operation efficiency of relevant enterprises and projects.

As a macro-environment builder and comprehensive information provider for enterprises to invest overseas, the government must further improve its services. First, it has failed to follow up on the progress of overseas investment projects and overall assessment of national macro-investment environment in the face of a changing world landscape and various specific risks. In particular, the investment risk early warning mechanism for developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America has not been established and there are no designated institutions or departments to provide comprehensive, systematic and effective information services for enterprises to invest overseas. Second, private enterprises in Ningbo are generally small in scale and weak in strength and anti-risk ability, with limited contact with foreign embassies, consulates and chambers of commerce, and all these have made it difficult for enterprises to obtain necessary investment security assistance when getting involved in investment disputes in host countries. Third, the policy support for foreign investment attraction is insufficient and the supporting infrastructure in some industrial parks is not as good as required, making it hard to attract overseas enterprises.

From the perspective of financial support, a large part of the overseas investment of Ningbo enterprises has been made by private enterprises with mainly their own capital. The financing struggle has been the most common and outstanding problem reported by enterprises and the biggest obstacle for them to go global. First, policy-based financial support is inadequate and its scope is limited. The Export-Import Bank of China developed going-global services, but the scale of overseas investment and financing products it provides are relatively small and mainly for large state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and strategic industries such as energy and resources, making it difficult for private enterprises to obtain credit support. Second, the capacity of overseas branches of Chinese banks is insufficient and the global credit system is not good enough. Chinese banks have few branches overseas and those in existence are mostly small in scale and slow in growth. They thus currently do not have the capacity to provide strong financial support for overseas Chinese enterprises. Moreover, Chinese banks have set up overseas branches mainly in developed countries and regions while Ningbo enterprises mainly invest in emerging markets. Third, it has been difficult for enterprises to get access to overseas financing. The enterprises that make outward investment are often taken as new companies overseas with limited credit standing and a high lending threshold. Fourth, there is only a small number of equity investment institutions that support overseas investment and the threshold is high with few to qualify for loans. Thus, such services cannot meet the wide-ranging financial needs of small and medium-sized private enterprises who need only small loans. Fifth, the credit insurance system needs to be improved. At present, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Ningbo Branch) is the only insurance company that provides insurance for overseas investment projects in Ningbo. However, as it focuses on projects in line with national policies and strategies and covers mainly political risks, it cannot meet the actual needs of overseas investment by private enterprises in Ningbo.

In regard to intermediaries, Ningbo is weak in professional intermediary services such as investment banking, finance, and legal and management consulting. Relevant institutions lack experience in and the capability to do overseas investigation, legal review, and asset and risk assessment, failing to meet the needs for consulting services of enterprises and government agencies.


Worldwide, the global economy has been stagnant after the international financial crisis and a large amount of floating capital is seeking new investment opportunities. China is an attractive destination for foreign investment given its huge market and stable development environment. At the same time, the international financial crisis has devalued the assets of a large number of industries and enterprises in major developed countries in Europe and America and this creates new space for Chinese enterprises to go global. In addition, many developing countries are in need of Chinese investment to advance their development.

These factors combined greatly contribute to the rapid development of China’s inward and outward investment in an all-round way.

At home, as China’s economy enters the new normal, with mounting downward pressure and sluggish external demand, China has implemented a series of strategies for innovation-driven development and seized the opportunity of the new scientific and technological revolution to promote industry 4.0, develop its manufacturing industry and emerging service sector, improve domestic macrocontrol and streamline administration and delegate more powers to provide a more relaxed, convenient and fairer market environment for foreign investment. At the same time, various going-global policies have been rolled out to actively encourage international capacity and equipment manufacturing cooperation and to provide a more active and convenient policy environment and financial services for Chinese enterprises to invest overseas.

Known as “a city of culture and a gateway to the world,” Ningbo is a modern international port city that enjoys the advantages of active private capital and outstanding resource pooling capability of private enterprises. Entering the new era, Ningbo aims to build itself into “a port economic circle, manufacturing innovation center, economic and trade cooperation center and port and shipping logistics sendee center" with greater international influence as was stated in its strategic planning for the 13th Five-Year Plan period and its medium- and longterm development, with the launch of a series of policies and measures to promote inward and outward investment. Meanwhile, Ningbo hosted two China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Expos successively and has been recognized as one of the first pilot cities for Made in China 2025. As the spillover effect of these grows, the inward and outward investment in Ningbo is expected to maintain a good momentum over the long term. In 2016, Ningbo will see larger scale and higher quality in its inward and outward investment.

  • (3) Investment in and from BRI countries in 2015

In 2015, 18 BRI countries invested in a total of 61 projects in Ningbo, an increase of 5.2% year-on-year. The contractual foreign investment reached US$601 million, down 26.9% year-on-year, accounting for 7.9% of the city’s total foreign investment; the actual utilization of foreign capital was US$310 million, an increase of 6.1% year-on-year, accounting for 7.3% of the city’s total. Southeast Asia was the largest source of foreign capital for Ningbo, with a total contractual investment of US$400 million. Singapore was the largest contributor with a total contractual investment of US$300 million. Following Southeast Asia are South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, West Asia and North Africa, and Central Asia (see Figure 2.7). Foreign investment concentrated in the tertiary industry, mainly commerce, housing, education, and health.

Investment of BRI countries in Ningbo in 2015, by region

Figure 2.7 Investment of BRI countries in Ningbo in 2015, by region.


In 2015, Ningbo made great efforts to seize the strategic opportunity of the BRI and saw remarkable progress in its move into BRI countries. A total of 49 overseas enterprises and institutions were set up in 18 BRI countries, an increase of 81.5% year-on-year, with an approved outward investment of US$360 million, an increase of 12.5% year-on-year, accounting for 14.3% of the city’s total overseas investment. The turnover of overseas contracted projects completed in 21 BRI countries was US$910 million, an increase of 29.9% year-on-year.

By region, Southeast Asia was the most favored destination of Ningbo enterprises. In 2015, a total of 30 overseas enterprises and institutions were set up in Southeast Asia, accounting for 62% of those in BRI countries, with an approved investment of US$250 million from the Chinese side, accounting for 71% of the total. With the spillover effect of the first China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) Expo, the investment cooperation between Ningbo and CEECs became closer, with a total of US$10.44 million of investment made in Romania and Hungary, up 28.5 times. Ningbo’s investment in Central Asia also increased substantially. Five new overseas enterprises and institutions were set up there in 2015, with an approved outward investment of US$67.1 million from the Chinese side (see Figure 2.8).

Ningbo’s investment in BRI countries in 2015, by region

Figure 2.8 Ningbo’s investment in BRI countries in 2015, by region.

Table 2.4 Ningbo’s major investment projects in BRI countries in 2015



Destination of investment




Ningbo Broad

Telecommunication Co., Ltd.


USB cable manufacturing project

US$10 million


Bros Eastern Co., Ltd.


Color spinning production line expansion and supporting dyeing facility project

US$52 million


Ningbo Yongfeng Packing Utensils Limited



Plastic packaging product production project




Ningbo Haitian Huayuan Machinery Co., Ltd.


Injection molding machine production project




Zhejiang Juxin Joint Group Co., Ltd.


Establishment of a company and the “sunshine" project Phase III




Limited International

Cooperation in Ningbo, Chinaliability company


Daily paper products production project




Ningbo Changlong Import & Export Co., Ltd


Knitted clothing project

US$1 million


Ningbo Changlong Import & Export Co., Ltd


Knitted clothing project

US$1 million


Ningbo Jiangfeng Electronic Materials Co., Ltd.


Sales platform for sputtering targets products

US$1 million


Dongfang Risheng New Energy Co., Ltd


20MW solar power project



In terms of industries, the manufacturing industry remained the largest recipient of investment from Ningbo in BRI countries. In 2015, there were 10 major outward investment projects of Ningbo in BRI countries, including the color spinning production line expansion and supporting dyeing facility project of Bros Eastern Co., Ltd. and the 20MW solar power project of Risen Energy Co., Ltd. (see Table 2.4).


In 2016, with the BRI further implemented, the investment in and from BRI countries entered a new stage with a strong momentum in Ningbo, opening up new space for development. From January to June, Ningbo enterprises made direct investment in 15 BRI countries, with the approved investment from the Chinese side amounting

Regional investment analysis report 2015 115 to US$570 million, mainly in Singapore, Poland and Romania, up by 137.5% year-on-year. In the same period, Ningbo enterprises signed contracts for new overseas projects with a total value of US$500 million in BRI countries, an increase of 39.2% year-on-year. In terms of foreign investment, from January to June, BRI countries invested in 40 projects in Ningbo, up by 66.7% year-on-year, with a contractual foreign investment of US$250 million, an increase of 5.8% year-on-year, both significantly higher than the growth in the same period in 2015.

However, Ningbo should also be soberly aware that many problems remain in the inward and outward investment of Ningbo: The city’s overall scale of investment in BRI countries is not large and still lacks large leading enterprises for its going-global efforts. Financial and taxation support needs to be strengthened and the information should be better provided in terms of the national conditions, policies and laws of target countries. Ningbo still faces a shortage of international interdisciplinary talents who are familiar with the cultures, languages and other aspects of destination countries of investment and trade.

Going forward, Ningbo will focus on the BRI and follow the principle of equal consultation, mutual benefits and win-win cooperation, striving to achieve new breakthroughs in inward and outward investment.

First, Ningbo will enlarge the scale and improve the quality of foreign investment. As a pilot city of Made in China 2025, Ningbo will focus on introducing enterprises in high-tech industries such as advanced equipment, new materials, new-generation information technology, etc. It will relax access control over the seivices market, push up the proportion of foreign investment in modern services and attract international financial institutions to set up branches in Ningbo. Meanwhile, the city will develop new forms of foreign capital utilization and overseas investment such as cross-border M&A, fund investment, securities investment and venture capital.

Second, Ningbo will foster local multinational companies. It supports large-scale local conglomerates, industrial leaders and high-tech enterprises to carry out internationalization strategies, and develop into international enterprises with great driving force and good comprehensive benefits through direct investment, acquisition and equity participation. Ningbo will speed up the establishment of China Ningbo International Investment Cooperation Co., Ltd. (CNIC) so that it can lead the city’s enterprises to carry out overseas investment, cross-border M&A, international capacity and equipment manufacturing cooperation and overseas project contracting.

Third, Ningbo will build high-level opening-up platforms. It will advance the building of country-specific industrial parks such as the Sino-CEEC (Ningbo) Industrial Park and Sino-Czech (Ningbo) Industrial Cooperation Park, forming a number of international industrial cooperation platforms focused on featured industries and major functions. Ningbo will strengthen the construction of its overseas parks and support local enterprises to go global in clusters and deepen cooperation along industry chains with peers in host countries.

Fourth, Ningbo will improve its inward and outward investment service system. It will establish an information sendee management platform for theall-round cooperation of government, banks and credit institutions and the timely release of public information and policy support such as country-specific investment and cooperation guides, investment industry guides, and analyses of investment barriers or risks.

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