Yunnan aims to be regional business hub

Updated: 2011-10-20 08:07

By Li Yingqing and Li Yao (China Daily)

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Yunnan aims to be regional business hub

KUNMING - Yunnan province aims to grow into a trade hub in Southeast and South Asia and a major manufacturing base for China's export-oriented industries, said Li Jiheng, the province's acting governor.

Tapping into its geographic advantage in terms of links with Southeast and South Asian countries, Yunnan will benefit from hefty investment in infrastructure and business platforms to boost its foreign trade and enhance manufacturing capacity, as the State Council has approved the provincial Gateway Project, Li said.

Positioned in the forefront of China's new round of opening up, Yunnan has an unprecedented opportunity to establish channels, construct bases and set up platforms for development.

Yunnan will continue its green approach to sustainable economic growth, encourage low-carbon and eco-friendly businesses, and promote other green industries such as eco-tourism, clean energy and organic farming, he added.

"Since the 1990s, a green economy has been recognized as a strategic goal by the Yunnan government. Yunnan will continue to work hard to reduce its carbon footprint and achieve green industrialization, with an emphasis on low-carbon and energy-efficient businesses."

Rich in natural resources such as minerals and hydropower, Yunnan is a "green pearl" on the Tropic of Cancer with a more than 50 percent forest coverage rate and excellent biodiversity.

Ruili, a town in Yunnan's Dehong Dai-Jingpo autonomous prefecture bordering Myanmar, has welcomed corporate delegates from across the country seeking investment opportunities and potential partnerships, said Wang Zhaoyue, an official familiar with Ruili's opening-up strategy.

Approved by the National Development and Reform Commission to be a national-level pilot opening-up city last year, Ruili is a booming destination for foreign trade.

Imports include beans, fruits, aquatic products, timber, rubber and mineral ore, from countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which import manufactured goods from China, including textiles, auto parts, machinery and equipment supplies, home appliances and medical and chemical products, Wang said.

The development strategy would give Yunnan broader access to emerging markets in Southeast and South Asia, where demand for Chinese goods is rising, said Chen Lijun, head of the South Asia Research Institute of Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences.

"Countries like India and Bangladesh are looking eastward for strengthened ties with China. Yunnan's opening-up will serve as a perfect response to that," Chen said.

The Gateway Project aims to lower investment costs and bring better returns for businesses and provide rising living standards and more jobs for local people, Li said.

Seven million people in rural Yunnan have been lifted out of poverty in the past decade, an accomplishment hailed as "a treasure for Asia" at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, Li said.

Susceptible to natural disasters such as severe droughts in recent years, Yunnan will accelerate projects to improve drinking water safety, irrigation, flood control and water conservancy in the province.

Announcing the Gateway Project as a national strategy on May 6, the central government said it would support Yunnan through taxation, financing, investment and preferential policies for local industries and clean energy projects.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/20/2011 page11)