Not so long ago, Suzhou was known as a sleepy city of gardens, temples, and canals. A favorite on the tourist circuit, it was basically a business backwater. But over the past decade Nokia, Samsung, Philips, Dupont, Emerson, Honeywell International, 3M, Bosch, and Delphi have poured billions of dollars into Suzhou, making it one of China’s most popular investment destinations and an emerging competitor to Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Beijing.
A confluence of geography”it’s close to Shanghai, but land and labor are cheaper by 20% to 30%”well-developed infrastructure, pleasant location and climate, plus an extremely pro-business local government, have all conspired to make Suzhou a raging success. “The major criticism of China”you could come here and it was cheap, but it was always a pain to get things done”Suzhou shows it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Kent D. Kedl, executive director of Technomic Asia, a Shanghai business consultancy for investors coming to the mainland.[Full Text]