Chinese firms win respect in Latin America

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-02 07:24

MEXICO CITY - Some have just come, while others have been ploughing on there for years. But no matter how long they have been present in Latin America, Chinese manufacturers, construction groups and service providers are providing a beneficial force to help transform the continent and its people.

Business is by nature profit-oriented, but those from China have shown themselves particularly willing to help empower regional economies, in so doing winning acceptance and approval, according to those interviewed at seven Chinese companies operating in six Latin American countries by Xinhua.

In the outskirts of Havana, the capital of Cuba, China's multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company Haier helped Cuba establish its first ever computer-assembly factory.

Since its inauguration in December, over 3,500 laptops and 4,000 tablets have been made and sold to Cuba's state companies and government agencies.

With annual production capacity of 12,000 units, the factory potentially provides more impetus for the country's digital endeavors to improve one of the lowest internet connectivity rates in the world.

"This project will give the country, its young people, schools, doctors and other professionals, the option of having an important work tool with good quality, services and properties at an affordable price," local employee Jose Antonio Sanchez told Xinhua in a recent interview.

On March 28, with the sponsorship of the world's fourth-richest man, Mexico's magnate Carlos Slim, Chinese automaker JAC Motors unveiled two compact SUVs in Mexico City, which were assembled at its plant in the municipality of Tepeapulco in the central state of Hidalgo.

Chinese firms win respect in Latin America

With an investment of $230 million, the plant's blueprint envisages production of 10,000 vehicles in five years and the creation of 1,000 direct jobs and 4,000 indirect ones.

"We have done a lot of tests in the market. Based in Mexico, we strive for size and brand building," said David Zhang, deputy general manager of JAC International.

"From the Mexican base, we will expand into Central America and the Caribbean," Zhang added.

On April 11, China Southern Airlines inaugurated a flight connecting the city of Guangzhou with Mexico City, the company's first such flight to Latin America, which Mexico hopes will help boost tourism from China.

"China is an important tourist market," the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Mexico, Salvador Sanchez, told the inauguration ceremony.

"In 2016, Mexico received 74,300 (Chinese) visitors, a 33.5 percent rise over 2015, making (China) the second most important Asian market."

CRRC, China's State-owned rolling stock manufacturer, has been providing a comprehensive service to Argentina's railway renovation project for the past five years.

A dilapidated railroad network once hindered development of the third-largest economy in Latin America and caused accidents. Now, CRRC has been accepted as a strategic partner to revive the transportation lifeline, with its advanced equipment, technology and human resources.

In Brazil, China's biggest air conditioner producer Gree has pulled ahead of its competitors in the market, with energy-efficient technology, updated products and a comprehensive support service.

As one of the earliest Chinese home appliance producers going overseas, Gree has been in Brazil for 16 years and is present in 24 states with over 300 dealers and 500 service providers.

Apart from its efficient products and attractive designs, Gree is well known for energy and environment conservation, winning approval from the Brazilian government.

"This job fulfills me," said Andreza Rocha, a local employee of Gree Brazil. "I fit into the cultural atmosphere of this enterprise. I have learned a lot from the senior managers from China."

In Peru, Yanjian Group from East China's Shandong province has gained a strong foothold through eight years of hard work, with new contracts rolling in. Under one contract, Yanjian will build a national emergency response center in Lima.

"With our 65 years of construction experience and consideration for local demands, we pay a lot of attention to the details of design and building to meet as many requirements as possible," said Wang Shuwei, general manager of Yanjian Peru.

In Ecuador, the lives of a lot of people were saved by dialing 911, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake jolted its north coast on April 16, 2016, killing 673 civilians.

The hot line is handled by the ECU 911 system, which was developed by the China National Electronics Import & Export Corp, integrating the country's emergency response and rescue services into a single platform.

The project started in 2011 and now there are 16 ECU 911 call centers across Ecuador, including two national ones in the capital city of Quito and the other in Guayaquil, its most populous city.

Andres Sandoval, national director of ECU 911, told Xinhua on the quake's anniversary, that thanks to the Chinese group the system had great technological capabilities, strong capacity in its servers, and strong contingency support for telecommunications.

JAC Motors' Zhang said that Chinese companies were very determined and never saw Latin America as an easy market.

"There are higher standards in Mexico. Chinese vehicles are late comers to Mexico, later than in other Latin American markets they have already entered," Zhang said.

China's IT technology and equipment providers in Cuba need more support from the Chinese government, just like the US administration helps their providers there, according to Haier.

Many Chinese companies in Latin America believe there are still great challenges for them to do business in the continent, due to its long distance, disparate standards, limited policy support and financial constraints.

But, executives from the companies add, the big market and the local people keep them staying on, no matter how big the challenge.


(China Daily 05/02/2017 page14)

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