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ROK enterprises expand industrial facilities in China's Guangdong

Two years into his overseas assignment to expand the hydrogen energy business in China, Oh Seung-chan, from the Republic of Korea (ROK), is pleased that his work and life have gone smoothly.

In 2021, Hyundai Motor Group set up its first overseas hydrogen fuel cell system project in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province and registered the company HTWO Guangzhou Co., Ltd. As the company's head, Oh lauded the excellent business environment here.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is one of the most important economic and manufacturing bases in China. The comprehensive automobile and chemical industrial chains here provide ideal conditions for the development of the hydrogen fuel cell industry, Oh noted.

HTWO Guangzhou expects to complete the construction of relevant facilities, including a fuel cell system plant, an innovation center, and a research and development center, and realize the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell systems by the end of 2022.

"There is a vast market and excellent enterprises in the industrial chain. The local government has an open and cooperative attitude towards foreign-funded enterprises and fully supports project construction and foreign talents coming to China. These factors have encouraged Hyundai Motor Group to do business here," Oh said.

In 2021, the trade between Guangdong Province and the ROK was 456.4 billion yuan (about 68.6 billion U.S. dollars), up 17.5 percent year on year, according to data from the Guangdong Sub-administration of the General Administration of Customs of China.

In addition to investments by big companies such as LG Display, Samsung Display and POSCO, more than 1,400 small and medium-sized ROK-funded enterprises also carry out businesses in Guangdong Province.

Despite the headwinds of the COVID-19 epidemic, ROK enterprises are still sanguine about investing in Guangdong.

By the end of 2021, Guangdong had attracted 3,837 investment projects from the ROK, with a total contracted foreign investment of 9.7 billion U.S. dollars and a foreign direct investment of 7.5 billion U.S. dollars, in actual use, the Guangdong provincial commerce department said.

In the first quarter of 2022, 69 new projects from the ROK were set up, with a total contracted foreign investment of 101.1 million yuan and a foreign direct investment of 28.5 million yuan, in actual use.

"As of May 2021, there were more than 9,000 high-level foreign experts in Guangzhou, with the number of experts from the ROK ranking second," said Jin Kai, an associate researcher with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.

In July 2018, LG Display opened an OLED panel factory in Guangdong with a total investment of 46 billion yuan.

"The continuous growth of LG Display in Guangzhou benefits not only from the huge consumer market in China but also from the constant improvement of the business environment," said Lee Dong-eun, vice president of LG Display China Business Management Division.

The administrative review and approval became more efficient and convenient, and the confidence of foreign investors in China increased continuously, Lee noted.

"There is a great potential for synergy and cooperation between industries of Guangdong Province and the ROK. Companies are encouraged to continue investing in Guangdong," said Yang Xinhong, head of the provincial bureau of statistics. 

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