Shandong has always maintained strong cooperation with the European Union, according to local authorities.
According to statistics from the Department of Commerce of Shandong, since 1987 when Germany-based consumer chemicals company Henkel AG opened a branch in Yantai, Shandong has attracted a total of 219 Fortune Global 500 companies, which have invested in a total of 785 enterprises in all 16 of the province's cities.
The Shandong Peninsula is surrounded by the Bohai Sea to the north and the Yellow Sea to the south. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
In addition, 65 Fortune Global 500 companies from the EU have invested in 163 projects in Shandong.
In the first half of this year, though the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted major pain on the world economy, trade between Shandong and the EU saw 2.2 percent growth year-on-year, reaching a value of 99.68 billion yuan ($14.4 billion).
In this period, Shandong also signed project agreements with several European Fortune Global 500 companies, including French electric utility company EDF Group and French food group Danone.
The EU has already become Shandong's second largest export market and sixth largest import market, according to Shandong officials.
French companies look to invest in Shandong
Fortune Global 500 companies from France are showing interest in investing in Shandong province, with 45 projects currently being developed, according to statistics from the Department of Commerce of Shandong province.
The coastal city of Qingdao led the way with 24 projects funded by French Fortune Global 500 companies, followed by Jinan, the provincial capital, with 15.
French Fortune Global 500 companies also invested in the Shandong cities of Heze, Rizhao, Liaocheng, Zaozhuang, and more.
Robots assemble a car at the SAIC Motor factory in Yantai, Shandong province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The companies are mainly involved in manufacturing and the wholesale, and retail.
As Shandong looks to shift from old growth drivers to new ones, it hopes to increase cooperation with the EU in financial services, business services, and real estate.
Official data shows that Shandong is home to 163 enterprises funded by Fortune Global 500 companies from the EU. Qingdao has the most with 63, followed by Jinan and Yantai with 32 and 10, respectively. Weihai, Weifang, and Jining each have five.