Fifty-nine-year-old Francois Trouchu works as an engineer for Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company in Wuhan, the capital city of central China's Hubei Province. Six years ago, when he came to help launch the company, there weren't nearly as many French people or companies in Wuhan as there are now. He witnessed all the changes since then.
"In the beginning, it was nothing. It was just bare land. They started by building the plant and put all the machines into them. That took three years. Now everything works very well," Francois said.
Dongfeng Renault is the third Sino-French automotive joint venture in Wuhan. It employs more than 2,000 people. Since its founding in 2016, its best annual sales record was over 70,000 cars a year.
Ge Shuwen, the president of Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company, mentioned that the Wuhan government gave them great support. It took only 16 months to finish all the paperwork when they launched the company. And the local government gave them subsidies as well.
Dongfeng Renault is not alone. More than 100 French companies have invested in the city. Most are automotive companies, as the city has focused heavily on that sector in recent years.
Ding Daiming, the director of Wuhan Commerce Bureau, said that the local government gave the Sino-French automotive firms the best location on which to build the plant. Now the French automotive market in China is facing a downward slide, but they’re making efforts to solve their problems.
Wuhan has worked to improve its business environment and make it more attractive to foreign investors, especially French ones. Its development zone, where many French companies have set up their subsidiaries, has seen nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars in French investment, accounting for 42 percent of all foreign investment in the area.
Wuhan already has the highest concentration of French investment anywhere in China. And the city is now pushing for more cooperation with France in sustainable development and education.