Site Selection magazine
twitter linkedIn facebook email email email
From Site Selection magazine, November 2017

Hugging Chengdu


Everyone has seen pictures of happy tourists hugging pandas in Chengdu. What could be better than that? We’re so glad you asked.


Yes, Chengdu is a famous panda sanctuary, the place you can get face to face with the world’s most irresistibly lovable critter. What you may not know is that there is probably a bit of Chengdu snuggled up in your own home right now. Fact: More than half of all laptop chips and two-thirds of the world’s iPads are made in Chengdu. So even if you’ve never gotten to Chengdu, Chengdu has come to you.

And to a whole bunch of other movers and shakers. For example, these:

  • In 2015 The Milken Institute anointed it the “No.1 performing City in China.”
  • That same year Business Insider proclaimed it “the most successful economy of any mainland Chinese city.”
  • CNB Weekly ranked Chengdu number one for Business Impact in all of China in 2016.
  • Forbes recently called it the “Happy exception to China’s challenging city life.” 
  • And just last year the Global Times dubbed Chengdu “the most attractive investment destination in China.”

Global corporations — from real estate companies to IT giants — are descending on Chengdu, attracted to the city’s unmatched resources (and maybe the pandas). Chengdu is booming, bursting with business opportunities, due in no small part to a location that straddles a key junction in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Chengdu’s regional GDP was ¥1.08 trillion ($150 billion) last year, buoyed by the presence of more than 275 Fortune Global 500 companies. Chengdu’s development plan focuses on strengthening the city’s industrial output, developing the financial services sector and on becoming China’s leader in technology. 


It’s working. Today the majority of goods made in modern-day Chengdu come from the IT sector, and the world is taking note. In addition to the accolades listed above, the European News Agency recently proclaimed that Chengdu offers the lowest-risk investment destination in China. They also mentioned that the people running the development show in Chengdu do the best job of protecting intellectual property.

That’s high praise. Do corporate investors feel the same way? Well, the savvy ones certainly do.
The biggest names in technology from around the world now happily call Chengdu home, including IBM, Dell, Huawei, Foxconn, Texas Instruments, Siemens and Ubisoft.

Dell Vice President Amit Midha boasted that not only was it easier doing business with Europe from Chengdu, but that the city also offered “excellent government service and perfect infrastructure.” Medtronic Chairman and CEO Omar Israk proclaimed Chengdu “the most economically thriving region in Western China.” 

So what makes these and other global leaders so enthusiastically embrace a whole city? Easy: They’ve mastered the four keys to making any region an ideal landing spot for foreign direct investment:

  • Infrastructure
  • Quality of Life
  • Highly Skilled Workforce
  • Established High-Tech and Advanced Manufacturing Industries

China’s state council has designated Chengdu as the country’s western center for science and technology, logistics, commerce and finance, as well as a hub of transportation and communication. Chengdu’s inland location, proximity to the Yangtze River, international airport with connections to nearly 100 countries and rail connections to nearly all of Europe and Asia combine to make the city a comfy, creative cradle of modern manufacturing.

Fortune 500 companies and startups alike embrace this region with an intermittent history as China’s capital over the past couple of millennia, attracted by the top talent coming out of Chengdu’s 56 higher education institutions. 

Yes, the panda are irresistible. But nearly everything else about Chengdu is, too. 

This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission. For more information visit

Adam Jones-Kelley
President of Conway, Inc.

Adam Jones-Kelley

Adam Jones-Kelley serves as President of Conway and Publisher of Site Selection magazine, having been with the company for nearly 20 years. Adam is a featured speaker at events around the world and a regular contributor to Conway's various publications.


Site Selection online is a worldwide service of Conway Data, Inc. ©1983-2024, all rights reserved. Data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current. To unsubscribe from our print magazine, contact Julie Clarke. For general inquiries, visit our contact page. For technical inquiries contact the Webmaster.