Guangzhou and Shenzhen rank as the two most popular destinations for foreign investment on the Chinese mainland, according to a study conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China.
The two southern metropolises in Guangdong province are followed by Shanghai and Beijing, according to the study, which covered a total of 44 mainland cities.
Harley Seyedin, president of AmCham South China, said it was the first time Guangzhou had become the most favored city in the mainland for offshore investment.
"Many foreign companies have expressed their satisfaction after they have established their production facilities and subsidiaries in Guangzhou, as Guangzhou city government has introduced a more open and transparent operation than other cities," Seyedin said at a news conference on Thursday.
"Guangzhou has very clear investment policies to attract foreign investment," Seyedin said.
The study, which includes the 2018 White Paper on the Business Environment in China and the 2018 Special Report on State of Business in South China, was published on Thursday.
A total of 244 foreign-funded companies from the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia were interviewed for the study.
Tim Wen, China representative of Allway Group, a Seattle-based corporation, said: "In addition to its good investment climate, Guangzhou is a business-oriented city, it has an even better business atmosphere than other mainland cities."
Liu Jisen, deputy secretary-general of Guangdong Institute for International Strategies, said Guangzhou and Shenzhen, as the forward positions of the country's reform and opening-up drive, have a long history of opening up to the outside world.
"In addition to their advanced infrastructure facilities and advanced market economy, the two cities have sufficient laws and regulations to help protect the legal interests of local foreign investors and their intellectual property rights, and that is why Guangzhou and Shenzhen rate as the most favored investment destinations in China," Liu said.
The study demonstrates that China remains popular for international investment due to its potential for global market growth.
"For most of the respondents (53.3 percent), China was their top global investment destination. Roughly 90 percent of the participants reported being profitable already, with most of the remaining companies expecting profitability within two years or less," Seyedin said.
"Nearly 70 percent believed their overall return on investment in China last year was better than elsewhere," he said.