Population (2014): Sub-provincial city 14,047,625 – Urban 7,415,590
GDP (2015): 163.7 billion – The highest in Western China
GDP growth (2014): 8.9%
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province. It was established officially in 311 BC and has a history that stretches back over 3000 years. It is the fifth most populous city in China. The climate of the city is monsoon influenced and subtropical, with mild winters but moderate summers. It is much cooler than the climate of its neighbours in Chongqing. Annual precipitation is around 997mm and with an average of 1,073 sunshine hours per year.
The city is served by Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, the 5th busiest airport in China. It is one of only four airports in China with 2 commercial runways. Foreign Trade Volume in 2014 was USD 55.85 billion, up 10.4% on 2013. UNESCO designated it as a Creative City in 2010. Forbes, Fortune and the World Bank listed Chengdu as one of “The Next Decade’s Fastest Growing Cities Globally”, “The World’s Best Emerging Business Cities” and the “Benchmark City for Investment Environment in Inland China” respectively.
In the first four months of 2015, Chengdu received USD 1.2 billion in contracted foreign investment, an increase of 150% on the same period in 2014. 136 new major projects have been signed for during Jan-May 2015. In 2014, 60 Sichuan-based companies invested in overseas projects. The total investment was USD 1.35 billion with an increase of 178% on 2013.
The Chengdu plain is famous for being fertile, and has its own irrigation system dating back thousands of years. It is one of the major agricultural production bases in China. Grain, including rice and wheat, is the major product, but the area also produces commercial cash crops include rapeseed, citrus fruits, peaches, sugar cane and sweet potatoes, as well as pork and raw silk. The area surrounding the city is also rich in mineral resources, with deposits of coal, petroleum, natural gas, salt and iron ore. Sichuan province also has more than 132 mineral resources including vanadium, titanium, lithium and cobalt.
The city’s service sector already accounts for 50% of the economy and is predicted to grow to 60% within the next 10 years. Tourism is growing particularly quickly, as Chengdu was named a CED (World Centre of Excellence for Destinations) city in 2010. It has enjoyed visits from top ranking officials such as David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Michelle Obama in the last five years.
Automotive, Aerospace, Metallurgy
Shuangliu County, in the centre of Tianfu New Zone, announced in April 2013 that a new service outsourcing focused industrial park will be established there to achieve better economies of scale. Tianfu Software Park has helped create a favourable “ecological environment” for local high-tech companies, which recorded offshore outsourcing contracts worth 44.5 billion yuan ($7.15 billion) in 2012.
AAXIS Commerce Delivery Centre in Chengdu have signed a short-term contract with a multinational company from the UK with a presence in Shanghai, and a multi-year project contract for a large project with another multinational company in Suzhou. After the success of these projects, AAXIS Commerce is planning to increase their staff by 20% this year, and move to a larger in Tianfu Software Park in order to increase their capacity.
Chengdu is a key part of the Chinese Government’s “One Belt, One Road” plan aimed at resurrecting traditional trade routes over water and land. It forms one of the transportation hubs on the land route between China and Europe. Xi Jinping announced a fund of USD 40 billion in November 2014, which is designated for investment in businesses contributing to the initiative.
Chengdu is also one of the targets of “Go West”, a strategy aimed at raising the economic strength and living standards of Western China to match those of the Eastern coastal cities. One of the projects is a joint Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone – this will link Chengdu to Chongqing, one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
Chengdu housing market has not suffered the same fall in prices as other areas in China, and remains competitive. The average house price is a third of house prices in Shanghai and Beijing, and is predicted to rise sustainably in 2015
Chengdu’s retail sector is expected to expand in 2015, with Shopping Plazas such as Taikooli, Joy City, Shinkong Mitsukoshi opening new premises. Chengdu’s purchasing power is unrivaled in Western China and accounts for 50% of the total in Sichuan Province.
From 2012, the city has been aiming to improve its presence in events and exhibitions. In 2012, there were 456 events, 76 international meetings and 154 exhibitions, of which 38 were international. The city holds over 190,000m2 of exhibition space. The Western China International Exposition Town is under construction; upon completion it will have an exhibition space of 500,000m2 and a conference space of 250,000m2. The Western China International Fair (WCIF) and the China Food & Drink Fair (CFDF) both take place in Chengdu every year and are aimed at attracting investment and trade.
There are plans to boost energy provision through non-fossil fuels (e.g. solar, nuclear, wind) to 30% of the city’s supply.
High-tech industries such as integrated circuit design and software development should continue to be attracted by good local R&D and educational facilities. The strengthening of rail and air logistics will strengthen Chengdu’s position as the vanguard of Southwest China. However, most growth will be in the service industries and ICT rather than Chengdu’s more traditional sectors of aerospace and pharmaceuticals.
“The thriving business hub conveniently located in the heart of Southwest China: Chengdu offers an abundance of opportunities to foreign businesses looking to invest into Western China, and with recent Chinese government announcements, these only look set to grow further”
- Provide financial support to companies in obtaining international standards certifications and engage in brand promotion overseas
- Promote international service outsourcing business
- Afford and arrange tax reductions and exemptions
- Provide financial support to service outsourcing enterprises in talent training
- Provide political and financial support for the global and domestic service outsourcing top 100 enterprises in their rent, taxes, staff training, and land management issues
- Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone (CDHT) has issued a number of preferential policies
• Mount Qingcheng, Famous mountain, a key centre of Taoism • Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, home to 30% of the worlds giant pandas
• Wuhou Shrine • Sichuan Opera (performed at Shu Feng Ya Yun)
• The world famous Chengdu Tea Houses • Anshun Bridge
Chengdu is also famous as the centre of Sichuan cuisine. In 2010, UNESCO named it a City of Gastronomy, making it the only city in Asia with this label. Much of the food contains Sichuan peppers, and three of its most famous dishes – Mapo Tofu, Hotpot and Dan Dan Mien – are all very spicy.
- Chengdu is China’s western centre of logistics, commerce, finance, science and technology. It is also an important hub for transportation, communication, manufacturing and agriculture.
- The total volume of imports and exports of the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone (CHDT) ranked third in the country and first in central and western China. The Chengdu Tianfu Software Park, based in CHDT, is Asia’s largest specialized business IT park and one of China’s 10 national software industry bases.
- The city has a long history of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Over 6,000 medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies are registered here. Chengdu is one of China’s pharmaceutical hubs.
- There are over 265 Fortune 500 companies with business in Chengdu. Prominent foreign investors include: Intel, BMW, HP, Sony, Nokia, Canon, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Alcatel, Toyota and Unilever. The 12th Fortune Global Forum was held in Chengdu in June 2013.
- Chengdu has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure. As of 2013, there were 3.75 million fixed line users, 21.36 million mobile phone users, and 2.68 million people with broadband access.
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