|Foreign firms encouraged to look westward|
China encourages foreign companies to invest in the nation's central and western regions to meet increasing demand, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.
"We welcome all sorts of foreign companies to bring their high-tech projects into China with a long-term perspective, and to the nation's central and western regions in particular," Li said during a meeting in Beijing with Choi Gee-sung, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics.
The company, which is the world's largest maker of consumer electronics, in April announced a $7 billion investment in a plant in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, which will produce NAND flash memory chips widely used in smartphones and tablet computers.
The factory is expected to become operational next year.
Samsung's investment is the largest foreign direct investment by value that China's western region has ever received.
China has been the largest FDI destination among the developing economies for years.
China has vowed to shift its FDI strategy as part of its effort to transform its economic growth model during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).
Late last year, China launched new FDI guidelines, in which the nation encourages foreign companies to invest in the central and western regions, as well as in the high-end manufacturing, high-tech and service sectors.
China's FDI grew 10 percent to a record high of $116 billion last year, while foreign capital flowing into central and western China increased by 14 and 28 percent during the same period, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Last year, Chongqing, the most economically dynamic part of the western region, saw its FDI reach a record high of $10.53 billion, ranking eighth nationwide.
Wang Zhile, director of the Research Center of Transnational Corporations at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the central and western regions will be the new growth engines for the nation's FDI.