Hubei is one of the inland provinces that first opened up to the outside world. Since China's re- form and opening-up, Hubei, by virtue of its geo- graphic and technological edge, has established a multi-level and multi-direction opening pattern cen- tered upon the Yangtze Economic Belt, with Wuhan in the leading position. Now all 12 prefecture-level and 25 county-level cities have achieved all-around opening up, with Wuhan, Huangshi and Yichang being the state-approved open cities. II. Preferential Policies
Hubei has issued a series of regulations to en- courage investment from foreign countries, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, which ensure preferential treatment in terms of tax, living conditions, and service. The major ones include "Regulations on Improving Foreign Investment Environment in Hubei" and "Regulations on Encouraging Invest ment from Taiwan Compatriots". II1. Foreign trade
The past few years have seen an average annual growth rate of 12% in Hubei's foreign trade. In ad- dition to the traditional exporting items such as textile, clothing, rice, live pigs, mineral products, and iron and steel, products of hi-technology and electromechanics are exported such as optic fiber, ships and train engines, which enables the export to move to the direction of diversity. Hubei has established business and trade relations with over 160 countries and regions all over the world. Major ex- porting markets include Hongkong Special Administrative Area, Japan, the United State, South Korea, Germany, Taiwan, India, Britain, Holland and France. IV. Foreign Investment
Hubei has created various means to utilize foreign investment, and effective improvement has been made in terms of remitting enterprise stock, infrastructure operation with time limit, and BOT.
Focus of foreign investment has shifted from general processing to hi-tech, deep processing, energy, infrastructure construction, and transformation of old industrial technology. A large number of large-scaled infrastructure projects have been set up or completed, such as Ezhou Power Plant, Gezhou Dam Hydropower Station, Dongfeng-Citroen Automobile Company and the Three Gorges Dam Project. V. Foreign-funded enterprises
More than 8,000 foreign enterprises have been established with the approval of the provincial government, together with over 400 representative offices. 120 out of the top 500 transnational companies have come to Hubei to observe the in- vestment feasibility, among which 50 have set up either enterprises or offices in Hubei, including Delphi, Coca Cola, McDonald, Lucent from the United States, Sumimoto, Sony, Mitsubishi, NEC from Japan, Siemens, Metro from Germany, Citroen, Carrefour, Renault from France, Phillips from Holland, and Daewoo, Hyundai from South Korea. In addition, nine foreign financial institutions have offices in Hubei. France General Society Bank and Hongkong HSBC have set up their branches in Wuhan.