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Multinational companies drawn to knowledge center

By Li Wenfang | China Daily | Updated:2017-01-20

Last year saw major investment projects funded by Fortune Global 500 companies in Guangzhou, such as Cisco (Guangzhou) Smart City, the southern headquarters of China Railway Construction Corp Ltd and COSCO Shipping Bulk Co Ltd.

The Cisco project, signed in April, will also serve as Cisco's head office of innovation center in China. Focusing on innovation related to the internet of everything and the internet of things, and working with global partners, the project is expected to generate 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) in annual output.

"Guangzhou is an important central city in the country, an international business and trade center, as well as a comprehensive transportation hub, with tremendous advantages in research and development, technology, innovation, service, human resource, markets, logistics, and transportation," said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

The city and Cisco will "work together to build the Cisco (Guangzhou) Smart City project, striving to become a pilot city for China Manufacturing 2025, a national manufacturing innovation center, and a national pilot zone where smart manufacturing and smart service are closely combined together", Robbins said.

COSCO's new company in Guangzhou, forming the world's largest bulk vessel fleet in terms of both ship numbers and deadweight tonnage, will be able to ship iron ore, coal, grain and other commodities to more than 1,000 ports in some 100 countries and regions.

The southern headquarters of China Railway Construction Corp will incorporate functions such as international settlement, manufacturing and professional services.

The combined annual revenue of the subsidiaries of China Railway Construction Corp to be located in Nansha district in Guangzhou, is estimated at 100 billion yuan, said Gao Hong, assistant general manager of China Railway Construction Nansha Investment Development Co.

The group's foreign trade will benefit from Nansha's advantageous location, free trade zone policies and bonded port policies, Gao said, adding "we hope to build a logistics base for going global".

Jaime FlorCruz, China chairman, Fortune Global Forum, said: "Over the years, Guangzhou's image has been as a manufacturing center of the world, producing cheap products that are sold all over the world, but in fact Guangzhou has moved on beyond that."

"We want to capture that and to tell the story of the new Guangzhou."

He said the city's knowledge and university capability is one of the factors driving the selection of Guangzhou as the host city of the Fortune Global Forum next year.

"The strength of universities that are here is in the interests of multinational companies that tap into the brainpower of the people all over the world, with recent examples being Cisco and General Electric," FlorCruz said. "All of the things Guangzhou has been doing recently have continued to increase its attractiveness as a place for multinationals to invest."

A total of 288 of the world's top 500 firms had invested in Guangzhou by June, said Cai Chaolin, vice-mayor of Guangzhou. Forbes magazine has ranked it as the best business city on the Chinese mainland five times in the past six years.


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