Contractors aim to win more orders worldwide

Updated: 2013-06-27 05:49

By Bao Chang (China Daily)

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China's leading international construction companies are expected to experience strong growth after 2014, as the global economy improves, according to a senior commerce official.

The development of countries in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia, especially, will be the new growth points for the international infrastructure development industry, Chen Jian, vice-minister of commerce, told China Daily, and Chinese companies are expected to play a significant part in that expansion.

"Many countries have increased their investment on infrastructure construction in an effort to stimulate local economic development," said Chen, "and this provides Chinese contractors with considerable opportunities for expansion abroad."

From January to April, Chinese contracting companies signed overseas deals worth $48.74 billion, a 37.9 percent rise on last year, according to a report by the ministry's China International Contractors Association, and the sector can expect to enter a strong phase of expansion as from next year.

Ji Weimin, president of CGC Overseas Construction Group Co Ltd, a Beijing-based international contractor, said it is planning to continue working overseas, in its case in countries including Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Senegal, where it will be working on building an expressway linking the three nations.

"This road corridor within western Africa will help greatly with regional integration," said Ji, in an interview with China Daily.

Chen Jian added that China has also been providing foreign aid on the building of bridges, airports and dams in various developing countries in recent years and will continue to support the financing and planning of infrastructure construction in developing economies.

"As nations accelerate their urbanization process, the development of international infrastructure is strongly supported by robust market demand," Chen said.

Rodolphe Adada, the Republic of Congo's minister of transport, civil aviation and the merchant navy, for instance, said that it is to establish a joint venture with China to promote infrastructure cooperation between the countries.

Chen added that rail, electricity and telecom projects have taken up more than half of the activity of Chinese infrastructure companies overseas, with new energy and high-speed railway projects enjoying particularly strong growth.

"Green infrastructure projects, including low-carbon and high-efficiency projects, have become the clear future direction of the industry, being developed with the latest environmental protection, energy saving and emission reduction technology," Chen added.

Europe, including the UK, meanwhile, is also being seen by some companies as another potentially lucrative future market for Chinese infrastructure expertise.

Nick Baird, chief executive at UK Trade and Investment, United Kingdom, recently revealed that the country expects one-third of its energy supplies to come from renewable energy with a planned investment of more than 300 billion pounds ($463.3 billion) expected over the next 15 years.

Baird said the UK plans to use more private capital to reduce the pressure on the country's public finances, and it will be introducing more "public-private partnership" deals to handle the ongoing investment of the country's infrastructure, particularly its rail system.

Huang Baodong, vice-president of Power Construction Corp of China, one of the largest State-owned contractors, added that its new energy construction projects have grown considerably in recent years, and the company has become internationally competitive in the geothermal energy, solar power and wind power sectors.

(China Daily USA 06/27/2013 page14)