The Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai - Commercial Section
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  Issue N° 2 - April 2010

A Fragile or Sustained Recovery?

2009 Economic Review in the Yangtze River Delta Region (YRD Region) 1
(with latest Swiss Presence Data)

 Download Shanghai Flash N° 2/2010 pdf-version
(7 p., 171 kb)

I.   Review of 2009

> China as A Whole—Accelerated Recovery
The year of 2009 is commonly believed to have been one of the most difficult and challenging year. Even though, China succeeded in sustaining the GDP growth at 8.7% amid the global financial crisis. Since the end of 2008, the Chinese government has implemented a national stimulus package worth RMB 4 trillion(US$ 588 billion), a large proportion of which being invested the construction of infrastructures and boosting of domestic consumption.

Globally speaking, China has already overtaken Germany to become the world’s largest exporter with its entire trade volume accounting for 8% of the global trade flow. For a long decade, China’s economy was driven by fixed assets investment and export. Nonetheless, the 2009 data reported a steady growth in fixed assets investment and domestic consumption while the net export dropped by 34%.

What’s more, banks lent out RMB 9.6 trillion loans throughout last year, which was almost 30% of the total GDP. A considerable portion of credit loans flew into the property investment and into the stock market as well, which posed a potential risk of forming an unsustainable assets bubble .

As a result of the central government’s intervention in the economy, China took the lead with remarkable rebounds ahead of other major economies in the world. Domestic economy started to recover with forceful momentum from a growth rate of 6.1% in the first quarter to 10.7% in the fourth quarter. China is ranking the world's third largest economy beyond Germany and is expected to surpass Japan and take the second position after the United States by the end of 2010.

> the YRD Region—Industrial Restructuring While Maintaining GDP Growth
The Yangtze River Delta Region still plays an important role in the whole country. The entire GDP of this region accounts for 20% of the national sum, with only 2% of China’s land area and 11% of the Chinese population.  In 2009, the region displayed a hard-earned result with a GDP growth rate of 8.2%, 12.4% and 8.9%, respectively in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Province. Its traditional export-oriented economic structure however suffered a serious defeat especially in the first half of the year.

As the dragon head of the region, Shanghai has led the region with steady growth for years. Shanghai took the opportunity to improve its industrial structure even at the cost of slowing down economic growth at a moderate rate. In this consideration, the growth rate declined for two consecutive years at a below double-digit rate.

Jiangsu ranked the 2nd place in total GDP volume domestically in 2009, with a rate 3.7% higher than the national average. Powerful industrial output growth, stable investment and consumption are the main positive factors fuelling local economy. Another highlight would be the accelerated development of the service industry and new industries with a steady rising proportion in total industrial structure. Jiangsu leveraged the high-tech proportion to 30% of its industries.

Zhejiang Province was greatly influenced by international trade environment because of its high ratio of dependence on foreign trade. As the external trade conditions getting better since the third quarter of 2009, Zhejiang quickly responded to the inspiring market and its foreign trade began to recover. Being one of the richest provinces, local consumption played a very important role in Zhejiang’s GDP growth.  

Infrastructure and manufacture investment contributed over 30% in Anhui’s GDP growth. With a relative weak economic base, Anhui Province benefited from the national stimulus package in infrastructure construction and presented a steady rate of 12.9%.

II.   A Glimpse into 2010

> China’s Predictable Recovery on A Fragile Base

With improving external environment and sustaining domestic performance, China is expected to continue its economic recovery in 2010. The government will expand stimulus spending to social welfare by releasing household savings to boost consumption. What’s more, the private sectors are showing a rebound with the overseas demand picking up and government’s supportive regulations which are turning to favor small and medium-sized enterprises.

However, there are still difficulties in the process of Chine’s recovery. The national encouraging package helped to stimulate infrastructure investment while at the same time pushing up the  consumer goods prices and property prices and leaving a high risk of domestic inflation.

The central government cautiously set up its GDP target at 8% this year, which is the same as the previous year. Maintaining economic growth was the prior task of 2009 while this year the government worries more about an overheated economy. With the recovery base gradually consolidating, the government is considering withdrawing the stimulus policies in due time.

> Investment And Consumption as Two Forceful Drives in the YRD Area
1)   Shanghai
Shanghai targets a conservative economic growth rate of 8% in the Expo year. Shanghai has captured a bullish growth momentum at the year's start, demonstrating the arrival of a post-crisis era. In January, foreign direct investment in Shanghai continued going upwards with a year-on-year growth by 9.7%, reflecting the strong confidence of overseas investors in Shanghai's economy. This year, Shanghai is making more efforts in the following sectors.

a. Expo a priority
Shanghai has invested a record high of RMB 400 billion(US$ 59 billion) for this Expo, including construction both inside and outside of the Expo site and all round infrastructure projects. The government targets to maintain a balance between revenue and payment. The confidence lies not only in the 70 million tourists planned to visit the Expo, but primarily depending on the post-Expo financial revenues. The Expo site boosts an area of 5.28 square kilometres on both sides of the Yangtze River, where is scheduled for commercial planning after the Expo. The ideal location and potential economic values will surely lure enormous foreign investors to come.

b. 2+1 centres
The central government officially announced the strategic plan of building Shanghai into an International Financial Centre and Shipping Centre. During last year, Shanghai has achieved cross-border RMB trade settlement of 2.1 billion and attracted over 400 foreign-capital financial institutions, which accounted for almost half of all financial institutions in Shanghai. In 2010, Shanghai government will invest RMB 1.1 billion(US$ 16 million) in encouraging innovation and research in that field.

With the rapid construction of the Shanghai Deepwater Port Harbour, Shanghai is ranked the world’s second largest container terminal since three consecutive years. In 2010, the focus will be laid in building a multi-functional trial area within the Deepwater Port, providing convenient tax refund services and opening up offshore accounts for domestic enterprises etc.

Moreover, Shanghai also accelerates its process in building an International Trade Centre by setting up two demonstration zones of Waigaoqiao Bonded Zone in the eastern part and Hongqiao Business Zone in the west to explore pilot projects and develop new business types. 

c. Improve civil conditions
Shanghai plans to increase affordable housing and be tough on property speculation. The massive construction will be started this year on 12 million square meters for affordable homes2.

d. Expanded transportation network with neighbouring provinces
The ongoing high speed railway nets will facilitate transportation between the major cities in YRD area within 1 hour, after its operation from the coming July. The intensive and faster connection will expand Shanghai’s economic radiation to a larger scale. Shanghai Hongqiao Transportation Hub, the capital city of Jiangsu and Zhejiang are the main stops and interchange centres.

Apart from that, the construction of Inter-city Magnetic Levitation(Maglev) Train from Shanghai to Hangzhou3, which has been put aside for years, is already approved by the state4. The Shanghai- Hangzhou Maglev line will mainly serve the high-end and frequent travellers in 30 minutes. 

2) Industrial Restructuring in Jiangsu and Zhejiang
Six new emerging industries5 are the key industries supported by the Jiangsu provincial government. Another priority will be laid on developing coastal regions in the North of the province as to narrow the economic imbalance between the northern and southern part of Jiangsu. The southern part is the most favourable investment destination for foreign capitals while the northern part on the other side of the Yangtze River is less developed due to historic location and a weak economic base.

Zhejiang is one of the provinces abundant in marine resources. In 2010, Zhejiang will maintain its economic growth at 10% by means of accelerating industrial restructuring. Additionally, another potential growing point is to deepen development of eastern coastal industrial areas into a comprehensive hub including chemistry park, marine resources processing, shipping and trade as well.

3)   Anhui—better connection with the YRD region
Anhui, bordering Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces on its east, is geographically separated with the most developed areas in the YRD. In this March, the capital city Hefei and another industrial city Ma’anshan are newly accepted by the Yangtze Inter-city Economic Cooperation6, which provides an easier access for Anhui to join the greater YRD area.

With easier transportation to Shanghai, the surrounding provinces will also benefit from the golden Expo season that lasts for 6 months or even longer. It is not only an opportunity to leverage their own service industry but also to showcase their comprehensive investment advantages at the same time. 

III.   Swiss Performance in the YRD Area

As a matter of fact, the total Sino-Swiss trade volume was also affected by the global economic recession with import from Switzerland down 6.1% and China’s export shrinking 32%. As a result of sharp fall of China’s export in 2009, Switzerland still enjoyed a huge surplus of USD 4.2 billion with China, which is higher than the number of USD 3.5 billion of last year. The YRD region accounted for 45% of the bilateral trade. Zhejiang successfully achieved a slight but unique export growth of 6% in the YRD area as its export strongly firmed up from the 3rd quarter.

Swiss investment in the YRD was reinforced from the second half with 30 new projects, which are almost three times compared with 9 projects by last June, showing the foreign investor’s confidence in the investment environment and growth potential of this market. However, the accumulated contract investment in Shanghai reported a decline from USD 1.7 billion to USD 1.2 billion. Due to the economic uncertainty, part of the investment was delayed to fulfill.

With Shanghai’s ever increasing land and labour costs, some foreign-funded enterprises are considering relocating their production sites to the neighbouring second or third-tier cities while setting up marketing or regional headquarter in Shanghai for strategic coordination. Furthermore, Shanghai is implementing high environment standard in the process of leveraging industrial structure. The awareness of Shanghai citizens has been substantially strengthened. On the other hand, the smaller cities are appealing to foreign investors with cheaper production cost and improved connection with Shanghai. Their governments show great interest in attracting foreign investment by constantly investing in infrastructure and providing preferential measures.    

Swiss financial institutions are paying more attention to the to-be financial centre. In cooperation with Pudong New District, one of Swiss insurance giants established an International Shipping and Financial R&D Centre7 in Shanghai, which is the first of its kind in China.  Apart from that, there is great need for experts in modern service sectors such as consulting and lawyers as Shanghai quickens the development of the service industry.

With the tough year of 2009 passing by, the business community is waiting for potential opportunities this year. The YRD region at large remains an investment hot spot for foreign capitals especially inspired by the Expo.

1 The Yangtze Delta Region(the YRD for short) refers to Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Zhejiang Province. The consular region of the Swiss Consulate in Shanghai is the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui and the Municipality of Shanghai.

2 Shanghai boosts a population of 19 million by 2009 while the average living space per capita is 17 square meters amid the rocketing housing prices. The affordable housing project mainly covers budget homes, low-rent apartments and houses built for relocated residents under urban development plans.

3 Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang Province as well as the top tourism city in China. Its GDP reached a historic height of 510 billion RMB in 2009.

4 The Maglev line now connecting Pudong International Airport with the Longyang Road Station of Metro Line 2 is notable for being the world’s first commercial high-speed rail applying the technology. The extended part with the total length of nearly 199 kilometres will cost a total investment of RMB 22 billion(US$3.22 billion).

5 Six industries are namely renewable energy, advanced materials, medicine, green industry, independent developed software and telecommunication.

6 Yangtze Inter-city Economic Cooperation is an association to promote closer relationship in an all round way. At the beginning it had 16 member cities from Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Province. In 2010 the organization absorbed 6 cities with 2 from Anhui Province for the first time.

7 The centre with an investment of 20 million RMB financed by both Chinese and Swiss sides has been put into operation since March 2010. 

Mrs. XU Min
Economic Section
Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai

Table 1
Current Economic Indicators* of the Swiss Consular Area

Year  
2008
2009
  Volume Growth Volume Growth
    Rate (%)   Rate (%)
GDP
(billion RMB)
China 31’404.5 9.6 33’535.30 8.7
Shanghai 1’369.82 9.7 1’490.09 8.2
Jiangsu 3’000.00 12.5 3’406.12 12.4
Zhejiang 2’148.69 10.1 2’283.20 8.9
Anhui 887.42 12.7 1’005.29 12.9
Consular Area 7’405.93   8’184.70  
Total Retail Sales of
Consumer Goods

(billion RMB)
China 10’848.8 21.6 12’534.30 15.5
Shanghai 453.71 17.9 517.29 14.0
Jiangsu

966.14

23.3

1’148.41

18.9

Zhejiang

744.17

19.8

862.23

15.9

Anhui

296.55

23.4

352.78

19.0

Consular Area

2’460.57

 

2’880.71

 
Completed Investmentin
Fixed Assets

(billion RMB)
China

17’229.1

25.5

22’484.60

30.1

Shanghai

482.95

8.3

527.33

9.2

Jiangsu

1’506.15

22.7

1’875.16

24.5

Zhejiang

930.00

10.4

1’074.20

15.2

Anhui

678.89

33.3

926.32

36.2

Consular Area

3’597.99

 

4’403.01

 

Exports (billion USD) China

1’428.5

17.2

1’201.70

-16.0

Shanghai

393.65

19.9

325.13

-17.4

Jiangsu

238.04

16.9

199.24

-16.3

Zhejiang

154.29

20.3

133.01

-13.8

Anhui

11.35

28.8

8.89

-21.8

Consular Area

797.33

 

666.57

 

Imports (billion USD) China

1’133.1

18.5

1’005.60

-11.2

Shanghai

212.91

10.3

190.36

-10.6

Jiangsu

154.23

5.7

139.59

-9.5

Zhejiang

56.86

17.0

54.72

-3.7

Anhui

9.08

27.6

6.75

-23.5

Consular Area

433.08

 

391.42

 

Foreign Direct Investment (during the period)
Projects China

27’514

-27.35

23’435

-14.83

Shanghai

3’748

-10.9

3’090

-17.6

Jiangsu

4’236

-29.2

4’219

-0.4

Zhejiang

1’858

-36.3

1’738

-6.5

Anhui

256

-49.4

303

18.4

Consular Area

10’098

 

9’350

 

Contracted (billion USD) China

N/A

 

N/A

 

Shanghai

17.11

15.1

13.30

-22.3

Jiangsu

50.73

16.4

50.98

-0.5

Zhejiang

17.82

-12.6

16.02

-10.1

Anhui

2.06

-33.2

2.09

1.6

Consular Area

87.72

 

82.39

 

Actually Utilised (billion USD) China

92.40

23.6

90.03

-2.56

Shanghai

10.08

27.3

10.54

4.5

Jiangsu

25.12

14.7

25.32

0.8

Zhejiang

10.07

-2.8

9.94

-1.3

Anhui

3.49

16.4

3.88

11.3

Consular Area

48.76

 

49.68

 

Source: Chinese Authorities * All statistics not including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao; Figures of the year 2008 is the revised ones (25th December 2009); Growth rates are price-adjusted.

Table 2
Swiss - Yangtze-Delta Region Trade Relations*

 
Import from Switzerland
Export to Switzerland
 
2008
2009
2008
2009
  Million
USD
Growth
rate %
Million USD Growth
rate %
Million USD Growth
rate %
Million USD Growth
rate %
Shanghai

2135.72

36.62

2188.86

2.49

356.68

12.28

291.30

-18.33

Jiangsu

693

33.31

543

-21.61

662

49.66

487

-26.46

Zhejiang

301

27.66

246

-18.31

525

30.86

557

6.04

Anhui

41.09

99.34

40.56

-1.29

9.16

-36.18

8.09

-11.74

Delta Region

3’129.72

34.93

2’977.86

-4.9

1’543.68

32.91

1’335.3

-13.5

China

7’350

25.7

6’898

-6.1

3’900

8.4

2’658

-32

Source: Chinese authorities

Table 3
Swiss Investment in Delta Region

 
Swiss Investment
Accumulated by end
of June 2009
In the Region
Project
Contracted
million USD
Actually
million USD
Project Contracted Actually
 
2008
2009
2008
2009
2008
2009
     
Shanghai

37

22

106.06

-529.32

N/A

N/A

356

1’209.74

N/A

Jiangsu

20

14

146.98

75.64

121.84

138.41

170

1’009

888

Zhejiang

6

3

96.22

32.69

39.97

45.89

64

349

230

Anhui

0

2

0

5.18

0

5.31

8

45.05

N/A

Delta Region

63

39

349.26

-420.99

N/A

N/A

590

2’567.74

N/A

China

108

70

550

N/A

240

300

1’224

N/A

3’290

General remarks:
1. GDP volumes are at prices of the reported years (not adjusted).
2. GDP growth rates are price-adjusted.
3. All figures are based on the unrevised data of China’s statistical authorities.

20.12.2010

Consulate General of Switzerland
for business related matters, please reply:
sha.vertretung@eda.admin.ch

 


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