News & Reports News Year 2012 February ,2012 Shanghai seeks another 50 MNC HQs this year

Shanghai seeks another 50 MNC HQs this year

SHANGHAI is aiming to have another 50 multi-national companies set up their regional headquarters in the city this year.

The target, unveiled by the Shanghai Commerce Commission yesterday, will see the total number of regional headquarters exceed 400 by the end of the year.

Forty-eight regional headquarters were added last year, bringing the total to 353, the most in any Chinese city.

The city has been encouraging greater foreign participation in its economic development by tapping international business links and unveiling favorable policies for foreign companies.

In one example, Shanghai is working on a policy to extend the visa validity of expats working in regional headquarters of multinational companies.

Sha Hailin, head of the Shanghai Commerce Commission, said the presence of regional headquarters of multinationals was accelerating in Shanghai, mainly in the Pudong New Area and in Xuhui, Changning and Huangpu districts.

Despite all the advantages the city has to offer, Shanghai is said to represent the highest costs for running a business of all Chinese mainland cities, followed by Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, and Beijing, according to a Forbes China survey released in October.

The survey compared labor costs, office rental, energy prices, tax and social welfare costs. Shanghai ranked top mainly because of its social welfare costs - pensions, medical insurance and unemployment subsidies.

Mayor Han Zheng said Shanghai would continue to create an international business environment by improving intellectual property protection, social credibility and legal guarantees.

Among other goals announced by the commerce commission, Shanghai aims to boost retail sales by 13 percent this year. Retail sales rose 12.3 percent to 677.7 billion yuan (US$107.6 billion) in 2011.

The city is also planning to increase outward foreign direct investment by 10 percent this year after approving US$2.66 billion of such investment last year, an increase of 9.8 percent from a year earlier.