The Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai - Commercial Section
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  Issue N° 3 - December 2010

On the Expo Paved Way

Economic Prospects in the Post-Expo Shanghai Region
(with latest Swiss Presence Data in the Yangtze Delta Region YDR)

 Download Shanghai Flash N° 3/2010 pdf-version
(7 p., 150 kb)

1. Effect of Expo 2010

After 184 days and a record of 73 million visitors, the Shanghai Expo 2010 was declared a great success. While it will take time to analyse the costs and benefits, the event has surely brought the world's attention to Shanghai and the Yangtze Delta Region and stimulated the economy.

Shanghai didn't officially release its quarterly and half year economic data in 20101. According to sources close to the government, the city's economy has returned to double-digital growth with a 12.7% increase after the slow-down in 2008 and 20092.

With direct and indirect investment in the Expo 2010 amounting to USD 59 billion, Shanghai benefited from a significant upgrading in infrastructure, including 10 additional subway lines, new airport terminals and high speed train connections. Furthermore, the 5.28 km² Expo site, which used to be old factories and residential areas, will be turned into a comprehensive commercial area for exhibitions, office buildings and tourist attractions. The infrastructural investments will cement Shanghai's reputation as a premier destination and help it on its way to a first rate metropolis.

Preliminary estimates by the China Tourism Academy showed that the Expo is supposed to have brought in more than RMB 80 billion (USD 12 billion) in tourism revenue for Shanghai and the neighbouring Yangtze River cities. On the other hand, the significant influence of the Expo on science, technology and culture, as well as people's mindset will be lasting much longer.

2. Current Economic Situation

The Shanghai led YDR region, including the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, reported higher than average growth rate for the first 10 months of this year. Industrial production in Shanghai expanded 16.7% in October on an annual basis, rising further from 15.9% in September. The combined production of the city's six key industries3 increased 17.3% in one year. Meanwhile, the city's foreign trade continued to record stable growth, with exports up 18.1% and imports up 27.6% in October. The strong recovery in trade led Shanghai to overtake Singapore to become the world's biggest container port in August. Throughput for the first nine months jumped 18.5% to 21.6 million TEU's.

Robust upturn of exports are also reported in both provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. The exports and imports volume (USD 378 billion) of Jiangsu for the first 10 months has exceeded the total of last year, with exports and imports up 37.5% and 42.1% respectively, ranking first among China's provinces. Zhejiang followed as No. 2 in foreign trade growth rate, reporting a total foreign trade volume of USD147.5 billion.

With strong exports recovery, the Yangtze River Delta Region continues to play a crucial role in the country. The entire GDP of the region accounts for 22% of the national sum, with only 2% of China's land area and 11% of the Chinese population.

However, Shanghai stays cautious despite all those rosy numbers. As pointed by the Mayor Han Zheng, the recovery was upon the figures from the same period in 2009, which was the lowest in recent years. Furthermore, the economy has heavily relied on investment. China took advantage of the global financial crisis to step up its investment in infrastructure, notably transportation in the interior. Shanghai hitched the ride for the preparation of the World Expo. Last year, its spending on investment hit RMB 100 mio/km² (USD 15 mio/km², excluding the area of Chongming Island). Meanwhile, in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, investment accounted for 34%, 43% and 92% of GDP respectively. Limited by land and resources, this type of growth is surely unsustainable. This has been well noted by the Shanghai government.    

Table 1 shows the economic structure of Shanghai for the first 3 quarters. The tertiary and primary sectors lag behind the growth of the secondary industry in the year 2010. The current share of the three sectors in Shanghai stands at 0.7%: 39.9%: 59.4%, compared to 1%: 24%: 75% in Beijing and 10%: 47%: 43% of China. Although the contribution of service sector stands much higher than the national average, it is significantly lower than the capital city, not to say the major world financial centres, as over 90% in New York and over 85% in London. China launched its national strategy to establish Shanghai as an international financial and shipping centre by the year 2020. Shanghai still has considerable space to develop in the fields of modern service industry including financial sector, as well as advanced manufacturing industry.

Table 1: Economic Indicators* of the first 3 quarters in Shanghai

GDP

2010 Q1 - Q3

2009 Q1 – Q3

(billion RMB)

Volume

Growth rate (%)

Volume

Growth rate

Total

1210.1

11.5

1012.5

7.1

Primary

5.65

-3.5

5.56

0.7

Secondary

517.5

19.5

424.7

-0.6

Tertiary

687.8

5.7

591.2

14.1

Financial

135.5

2.9

134.1

31.1

Real estate

67.1

-22.9

68.4

29.8

Source: Shanghai Statistic Bureau
*Growth rates are price-adjusted; figures of the year 2009 are not revised ones.

3. The Twelfth Five-Year-Plan (FYP)
3.1 Review of 11th and the draft of 12th
With curtains falling at the Expo Shanghai 2010, the city also concluded its 11th Five-Year-Plan for social and economic development. The first annual development report for Shanghai was released recently to review its efforts and progress in the past five years. According to the report, Shanghai's average annual growth rate has been 11% in the 11th five year period, with per capita GDP reaching USD 11'000, a level that places it by some rankings above two thirds of the countries worldwide. Its foreign trade accounted for 1/4 of the country's total, making it the world's largest port in terms of cargo throughput, while in the financial sector, the volume of stock transaction ranked world no. 3, and no. 1 for the volume of gold spot trading.   

On the 2nd of December, the city released its 12th Five-Year Plan, which kicks off next year. The plan focus on a more service-industry backed economy and innovation in all sectors. In addition to the national strategy of building an international financial and shipping centre, the city government reiterated its desire to make the city also a global economic and trading hub. To achieve this goal, Shanghai will continue its move towards service industries, and shift major manufacturing capacity to high-technology and high value-added industries. The city government is aware that the economic restructuring will be accompanied by a levelling-out of growth. Thus the 12th Five-Year-Plan aims at securing a year-on-year GDP growth rate of 8%, starting 2011.  

It is worth noting that inflationary pressure and the risk of a property bubble have topped the agenda of the Chinese government at all levels. Rising prices have eroded confidence among Chinese consumers,  thereby hampering efforts to boost consumption as the new driving force of the economy. There are systematic matters that will require some long term solutions.   

3.2 Acceleration of the construction of 2 centres

With a large financial system and a strong backup by the real economy, Shanghai is already the nation's financial hub. But the major obstacles towards a world financial centre, which include the convertibility of the currency, capital control, as well as the legal system and soft infrastructure, still remain. As the first steps, the city plans to become the onshore centre of trading, pricing and clearing of Chinese currency assets, playing a complementary role to Hong Kong as the two cities jointly reinforce the RMB's internationalisation drive4.

Meanwhile, the city pledges to speed up innovation in shipping financial services in an effort to attract not only the shipping business but also high value-added services to Shanghai. The development of offshore banking, shipping insurance, shipping leasing and financing are under discussion. A cluster of supporting infrastructure, as well as preferential tax policy, are in the pipeline.   

To strengthen its position as a logistics hub, Shanghai will further expand both its sea and river port facilities, and improve their connection with air transportation.

Currently, the biggest challenge for the city to achieve its two centres goal is the lack of talents. Shanghai has now only 1% of its population, about 198'000 people working in the financial sector, compared to around 10% in New York or Hong Kong. The shortage of professionals is a bottleneck to further development of the financial sector, yet high housing prices and income taxes have been the major hurdle to attract more talents.

4. New Stimulus

4.1 Disneyland project
Every five-year plan needs to support specific projects. For the 10th FYP it was the Yangshan deep-water port and related projects, while the 11th was the World Expo. The government is keen to integrate the city's post-Expo plans as a key project into the 12th five-year blueprint.

Five days after the closing ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo, Shanghai and the Walt Disney Company signed a cooperation agreement and officially launched the Shanghai Disneyland project, which is so far the largest joint Chinese-foreign modern service project in China. The park shall reportedly open its doors by 2013 and plans are calling for it to eventually be as big as Disney World in Florida.

The Shanghai Disneyland project, which has an investment of RMB 25 billion for its first phase will serve, together with the just-closed Expo, as the major engines to promote modern and international tourism in the Yangtze River Delta area and create international tourism brands5.

4.2 Non-Expo related infrastructure projects

China's massive stimulus package to fight the global financial crisis has led to 700 new airports, world class highways, bridges and dams in the past two years. Shanghai didn't receive a big share of it, as most expo-related projects were already under way before the crisis. The next few years' infrastructure projects will serve the city's goal to be a logistic hub, which include rail links and the continuing Yangshan deep water harbour project. For example, the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway line has just completed the overall track-laying and will be put into formal operation in October 2011. The RMB 220.9 billion (USD 33 billion) project will span three municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai) and pass through four provinces (Hebei, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu), connecting by rail nearly a quarter of the country's population, at a speed of 350km/h. The significantly improved transportation system will surely mark China's economic map.

On the other hand, the construction of the intangible infrastructure, for advanced information technology and broadband service, is also listed in the next five-year-plan. 

5. Business Prospects 2011: a good year with challenges

China has fast recovered from the global financial crisis. With the restoration of business confidence, the year 2011 is expected to be a good one for business, with consumption booming and the process of urbanization continuing6.

The fast growing economy as well as increased wage are boosting private consumption especially in the high and low end markets. Luxury goods are strengthening their presence in China; foreign invested companies are spreading their sales from bigger cities to hundreds of smaller cities. The market is indeed vast but at the same time very complex in terms of diversity of culture, customs, climate and consequently different products preference and acceptance, price and quality sensitivity and shopping behaviour.

On the other hand, local competition is getting tougher and the technology gap between foreign invested and Chinese companies is closing at a quicker pace. The local companies gain their competitive advantages through rapid development, flexibility and more sophisticated products and innovation.

One of the bigger challenges for many foreign companies in the Yangtze Delta Region are the rising business costs, which are believed to be a long term trend. Due to the surge in salaries, shrinking land supply and appreciation, industrial cost is expected to increase by 3 to 4 times by the year 2020. However, foreign invested companies have reported strong corporate earnings in China. Growth points fall in the high-value added, capital and technology intensive sectors, shifting the concept of “Made in China” to “Consumption in China”.

As of December 1, foreign companies in China are paying the same amount of taxes as their Chinese counterparts, marking the end of the tax holidays foreign investments have enjoyed for 30 years. But companies categorized in high-technology and financial sector still enjoy preferential tax rate. The new taxation policy streamlines foreign capital in the preferred  direction and squeezes out investment in the low-end manufacturing industry. However, some local city and county governments are continuing to give favours to foreign companies in an effort to attract more foreign direct investment.

6. Situation of Swiss companies in the YRD

Swiss companies have been in a better position to weather the economic downturn, as they are mainly powered with high technology and operate in the high end market. With huge state funding being channelled towards infrastructure development nationwide, Swiss companies in related sectors are positively impacted. However, some sectors, like textile and electronics, are more affected by the external changes. For the year 2010, strong recovery and earnings are reported.

The Consulate witnesses a shift of business gravity to this part of the world. Just for the 2nd half of 2010, it participated in 8 openings of Swiss companies in the Yangtze Delta Region. The observed trend is to locate regional headquarters and R&D facilities in Shanghai, while actual manufacturing plants in neighbouring provinces in locations well served by expanding and improved transportation links.

Recent visits to the authorities and Swiss companies in the consular area reflects a sustained economic dynamism in the region. Renewable energy, new material, energy-efficiency and ecological know-how, as well as high-end manufacturing and financial service will be new growth areas for bilateral cooperation, as reiterated by local governments. Looking at the business environment, high technology and innovation are known as the competitive edge of Swiss companies. Rising salary and fierce completion have led to higher demand of automation and integrated process, which offers opportunities for Swiss companies which are technology leaders in their sector. Of course, to obtain the market position and recognition in China has not been an easy process. Local competition, human resources (both skilled workers and management), infringement of IP rights are the major challenges faced by Swiss companies, meanwhile continuous innovation, sales network, service and customer relations, R&D with adapted local solutions are the common contributors to the success stories in the region.

1 Unofficial reports said the data is being verified by the National Statistic Bureau in an effort to “balance” the regional development.

2 As China's major economic engine, Shanghai has reported for 16 consecutive years double-digital growth until 2008. The city's economic growth slowed down to 9.7% in 2008 and 8.2% in 2009 due to both financial crisis as well as its industrial restructuring.

3 Electronics, automobiles, petro-chemistry, fine steel, machinery equipment and biomedicine.

4 Since China started to use RMB for some trade settlement in July last year, RMB 70.6 billion (USD 10.7 billion) worth of trade deals were transacted in the mainland currency with 75% being conducted in Hong Kong.

5 According to the "Regional Planning for the Yangtze River Delta Area" officially approved by the State Council in 2010, the Yangtze River Delta area shall be established as a world-class urban agglomeration with strong international competitiveness. In 2015, the Yangtze River Delta area will be the first in China to achieve the goal of building a well-off society in a comprehensive way and by 2020 it will be the first area to realize modernization.

Mrs. Stella NIE
Economic Section
Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai

Table 2
Current Economic Indicators* of the Swiss Consular Area

Year

 

 

 

2009.1-6

2010.1-6

Volume

Growth

Volume

Growth

 

Rate (%)

 

Rate (%)

GDP (billion RMB)

China

13'986.2

7.1

17'284.0

11.1

Shanghai

661.2

5.6

798.02

20.7

Jiangsu

1'553.05

11.2

1'900

14.5

Zhejiang

1'004.4

6.3

1'190

13

Anhui

451.29

11.8

553.72

15.4

Consular Area

3'669.94

 

4'441.74

 

Total Retail Sales of
Consumer Goods

(billion RMB)

China

5'871.1

15.0

7'266.9

18.2

Shanghai

250.61

13.8

292.10

17.5

Jiangsu

553.15

17.2

648.33

18.4

Zhejiang

403.2

13.7

476.26

19.0

Anhui

162.04

18.5

193.21

19.1

Consular Area

1'369

 

1'609.9

 

Completed Investment
in Fixed Assets

(billion RMB)

China

9'132.1

33.5

11'418.7

25.0

Shanghai

216.09

9.6

220.77

2.2

Jiangsu

826.67

24.7

1'021.17

23.5

Zhejiang

438.7

13.4

516.4

17.7

Anhui

390.6

32.7

511.11

30.9

Consular Area

1'872.06

 

2'269.45

 

Exports (billion USD)

China

521.5

-21.8

705.1

35.2

Shanghai

62.55

-22.3

83.51

33.5

Jiangsu

84.87

-24.8

122.48

44.4

Zhejiang

58.75

-19.6

82.22

39.7

Anhui

4.0

-24.9

5.45

36.4

Consular Area

210.17

 

293.66

 

Imports (billion USD)

China

424.6

-25.4

649.8

52.7

Shanghai

57.98

-24.8

88.30

52.3

Jiangsu

59.06

-25.7

92.12

56

Zhejiang

24.28

-17.1

35.29

45.2

Anhui

2.74

-41.8

5.47

89.5

Consular Area

144.06

 

221.18

 

Foreign Direct Investment (during the period)

Projects

China

10'419

-28.36

12'400

18.8

Shanghai

1'468

-17.3

1'687

14.92

Jiangsu

1'997

-13.4

2'268

13.6

Zhejiang

653

-24.9

890

36.3

Anhui

127

-8.0

123

-1.6

Consular Area

4'245

 

4'968

 

Contracted
(billion USD)

China

 

 

 

 

Shanghai

6.66

-19.7

7.48

12.20

Jiangsu

24.41

-15.1

27.14

10.8

Zhejiang

6.17

-21.1

8.52

38.1

Anhui

0.7

-32.3

0.68

53.8

Consular Area

37.94

 

43.82

 

Actually Utilised
(billion USD)

China

43'01

-17.9

51.43

19.58

Shanghai

5.16

2.5

5.37

4.11

Jiangsu

13.06

-14.6

15.21

16.5

Zhejiang

4.87

-13.5

5.32

9.2

Anhui

1.98

5.2

2.47

25

Consular Area

25.07

 

28.37

 

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

Table 3
Swiss - Yangtze-Delta Region Trade Relations*

 

Import from Switzerland

Export to Switzerland

2009.1-6

2010.1-6

2009.1-6

2010.1-6

Million USD

Growth rate %

Million USD

Growth rate %

Million USD

Growth rate %

Million USD

Growth rate %

Shanghai

895

-13.27

1284

43.54

141

-3.3

152

7.55

Jiangsu

280

-17.91

424.96

51.7

167

-56.6

238.1

43

Zhejiang

132

7.76

150

11

257

10.4

300

19

Anhui

17.41

32.83

12.43

-28.6

3.21

-25.7

6.7

109

Delta Region

1'307

-12.6

1'858.96

42.2

565

-26.0

690.1

22.14

China

3'014.11

-13.0

8'415.42

179.9

1'268.29

-32.7

1'282.47

1.1

Source: Chinese authorities

Table 3
Swiss Investment in Delta Region

 

Swiss Investment

Accumulated
by end of  June 2010

In the
Region

Project

Contracted
million USD

Actually
million USD

Project

Contracted

Actually

 

2009.1-6

2010.1-6

2009.1-6

2010.1-6

2009.1-6

2010.1-6

 

 

 

Shanghai

1

10

6.80

76.78

N/A

N/A

366

1’286.52

N/A

Jiangsu

6

5

65.03

8.76

87.48

35.91

186

1’102

855

Zhejiang

2

3

2.93

530

32.18

44

67

368

262

Anhui

0

1

0

8.18

0

6.16

6

48.04

N/A

Delta Region

9

18

74.76

615.54

N/A

N/A

544

2’983.86

N/A

China

34

38

N/A

N/A

180

140.4

1’262

N/A

3’370

General remarks:

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

21.03.2011

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

 


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