Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson Services Inc's plan to invest $3 billion in a new production base in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, is just the latest move among big international companies to expand in China's vast northwest region.
A unit of the United States-based J&J - Xi'an-Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd - announced in mid-November the project in the Xi'an High-Tech Industries Development Zone. It is J&J's largest single investment in China.
The project will include a 267,000-square-meter building, the largest single such structure among bio-pharmaceutical enterprises in China.
Analysts said that foreign companies come to tap into the natural and labor resources of China's western regions. In the process, they contribute to local growth, which is line with the Chinese central government's goal of developing the western regions into a new growth engine for national economy.
"For 28 years, XJP's Xi'an site has delivered high-quality products to patients in China. This next-generation, high-tech facility will greatly increase our ability to deliver our innovative products to patients," said Jesse Wu, chairman of Johnson & Johnson China.
Investment by foreign companies, and the jobs they create, are badly needed by local governments in light of China's lackluster economic environment.
Li Jinzhu, vice-governor of Shaanxi, hailed the company's significant contributions to the development of the province since the J&J unit was established in 1985.
XJP is the first multinational healthcare company to enter the high-tech zone.
The project will produce the company's new injectable medicines, introduce the Crucell vaccine business (a subsidiary of J&J) to China and help produce more J&J medicines that are now registered and produced abroad.