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Chinese investment in U.S. will become more competitive: U.S. economist

Photo taken on July 19, 2016 shows the construction site of the rehabilitating project of Gerritsen Inlet Bridge carried out by China Construction America in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/China Construction America)

COLUMBIA, the United States, June 25 (Xinhua) -- With the rapidly evolving Chinese economy, Chinese companies investing in the United States will become increasingly innovative and competitive, a U.S. economist has said.

The Chinese economy is transforming from labor-intensive manufacturing to automation and artificial intelligence, making Chinese companies very globally competitive, said Doug Woodward, professor of Economics at University of South Carolina.

"They will have the competitive advantages to penetrate and continue to grow in the U.S. market," Woodward told Xinhua in an interview.

As an expert in regional economy, Woodward has witnessed that Chinese investment, along with other foreign direct investment (FDI), has played a fundamental role in upgrading the economy in South Carolina.

Located in the southeastern region of the United States, South Carolina used to rely heavily on textiles and apparel industries in 1970s and 1980s. With foreign investments from Europe and Asia pouring in, the state is now strong in technology-intensive industries including aerospace and automotive.

"It (FDI) has really changed our whole economy away from the old industrial base of textiles and apparel to these new emerging clusters of economic activity around automotive," the professor said.

Since 2011, Chinese investment in South Carolina has created roughly 4,000 jobs, according to the Department of Commerce in South Carolina.

China has the financial resources and the competitive advantages, Woodward said, adding that "investment coming from China will grow probably at a higher rate than European investment."

The latest example of Chinese investment in the region is the ongoing project of China Jushi, a fiberglass giant originated from China's eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.

Jushi, with its own world-class fiberglass technology, plans to invest 300 million dollars and hire 400 workers once it is in full operation at the end of 2018.

According to Woodward, the competitiveness of Chinese companies not only comes from innovative technologies, but also their understanding of the U.S. market.

"China is a big market, so Chinese companies understand how to deal with complex large markets ... That's something that we both have in common," he said.

"And that's why I think they can invest in and succeed in America, just like the Europeans have," he added.

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