By Li Gang
Since the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), south China’s Guangdong province has been devoted to developing itself into a strategic hub, economic and trade cooperation center, and important engine of the BRI, and leveraging its advantage of being close to countries along the routes of the BRI in terms of geographical location and people-to-people relations to help local enterprises and brands go global.
The province has seen a large number of projects, which involve small investment, yield quick results, and benefit people’s livelihood, take root in countries along the routes of the BRI.
Since 2018, it has invested in nearly 3,000 projects overseas, among which over 94 percent come from private enterprises and more than 80 percent have an investment volume of less than $5 million.
By promoting the establishment of overseas industrial parks and economic and trade cooperation zones, Guangdong has enabled enterprises to support each other in expanding overseas operations.
The province’s first batch of seven provincial-level overseas economic and trade cooperation zones have attracted a total of 147 companies and a cumulative investment of about $1.74 billion, and generated over $3.83 billion of output value. They have driven the import and export of about $1.4 billion worth of goods, and brought $72.55 million in tax revenue to host countries.
The China-Vietnam (Shenzhen-Haiphong) Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone in Vietnam has housed 28 high-tech enterprises, including Wolong Electric Group Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Sanhua Intelligent Controls Co., Ltd., and Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. The cooperation zone is expected to attract 30 to 40 companies and $1 billion of investment and create 20,000 to 30,000 jobs for local people in the first phase of the project by 2022.
In May, Guangdong province published a document on its focus of work in participating in the BRI construction in 2021, aiming to promote the in-depth cooperation with countries and regions along the routes of the BRI.
The document includes specific arrangements covering such aspects as deepening policy communication, optimizing integrated transportation system, boosting international industrial capacity cooperation, enhancing the capability to provide financing support and financial services, facilitating people-to-people connectivity in various fields, and improving service guarantee mechanism.
Meanwhile, seizing the opportunity of the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the province will join hands with China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao to promote overseas operations of local enterprises and strive for tangible and solid outcomes of the BRI construction, powering up enterprises in exploring overseas markets.
Recently, a China-Europe freight train carrying a batch of liquid crystal display panels and electronic components required for the production in the factory of Chinese multinational electronics company TCL Technology in Poland left Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, for Malaszewicze in Poland. It is expected to arrive in its destination 15 days after its departure.
With the new China-Europe freight train route linking Guangzhou and Malaszewicze launched in April this year, the factory of the Guangdong-based company in Poland has gained another convenient transportation line, said an executive of the factory.
Taking advantage of the BRI and China-Europe freight train services, TCL Technology has made the factory in Poland the central link of its European industrial chain and managed to cover all regions on the European continent with its smart terminal products, services and solutions, according to the executive.
Guangdong Vanward New Electric Co., Ltd., a leading Chinese gas water heater manufacturer headquartered in Foshan city, Guangdong province, has quickened its pace to promote its self-owned brands in overseas markets.
The company opened its first overseas experience store in the central business district in Azerbaijan in 2017 and its first experience store in Southeast Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, one year later. In 2019, the company set up its Russian subsidiary.
In recent years, the company’s export performance has improved continuously. Its gas water heaters and gas stoves have outperformed similar products in the industry in terms of export volume for many years and have been sold to nearly 90 countries around the world.
Gree Electric Appliances Inc., China’s leading home appliances manufacturer based in Zhuhai city of Guangdong province, has realized localized production in Lahore, Pakistan. With its annual output of air conditioners exceeding 300,000, Gree’s production base in Lahore once increased the company’s market share in Pakistan to more than 30 percent, significantly improving the awareness and reputation of the brand.
Well-known Chinese footwear maker Huajian Group headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong province, has built a production base in Ethiopia. Within merely three month, the production base was completed and put into operation.
The production base has greatly increased the export volume of local leather products and effectively promoted the development of the local economy.