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Not only are foreign merchants returning to China's small commodity hub of Yiwu following the country's optimized COVID-19 response and entry-exit policies, but also the number of newly set-up foreign companies rebounded this year.
According to the market supervision bureau in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang province, as of mid-March, 181 foreign companies were set up this year, a surge of 123 percent over the same period last year.
The investors were from 49 countries, with 67 percent invested by businesses from Asian countries. Besides, there were a large number of foreign investors choosing to enter the market in Yiwu by investing in existing companies, according to the bureau.
As of mid-March, there were 4,996 registered foreign-funded companies in Yiwu, accounting for 57 percent of the total number of foreign-funded entities in the city, with a year-on-year increase of 12 percent.
On Jan 1, 10 measures were officially implemented in Yiwu to improve the city's international business environment and foreign-related services, focusing on policy advice and convenience in the residence and work permit system for foreigners, among other areas.
Hassan Javed, a businessman from Pakistan, was among the newcomers. He did not expect that he would get the business license the very next day after he showed his passport at the government's service counter to sign and submit the application materials for registering a new trade firm this month.
"To open a company in Yiwu, the process is simpler than I thought," he said.
Data from the local exit-entry administration shows that there are more than 12,000 resident foreign merchants in Yiwu, about 80 percent of the pre-epidemic level, and the number is still rising.