Source: China Daily Published: 2017-11-29
Zhuhai in South China`s Guangdong province is striving to integrate into the Belt and Road Initiative, establishing itself as a major pivot and an international transportation hub by 2021.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, to be put into service soon, will better position Zhuhai in its endeavors to integrate into the Belt and Road Initiative. [Photo provided to China Daily]
The city is expecting the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Forum on International Communications and Chinese (Guangdong) Companies Going Global, which opens in the city on Wednesday, to become a platform to make its ambition and vision better known among the related countries and regions, to learn from them and join closer hands with them.
At a press conference held recently in Guangzhou on the forum, Long Guangyan, head of the city`s publicity department, said that Zhuhai enjoys a unique geographical advantage bordering both Hong Kong and Macao and has long been a key channel for Sino-Western cultural exchanges.
"In tandem with the nation`s implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the operation of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, accelerated development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the deepened development of the Hengqin Pilot Free Trade Zone, Zhuhai is striding into an unprecedented development opportunity era," she said.
"Co-sponsoring the forum is a concrete step for Zhuhai to participate in the Belt and Road international cooperation and we are expecting the event to become a platform to showcase the city`s latest achievements in innovations and opening-up, to gain new experience for our future development and to forge closer cooperative ties with the Belt and Road countries and regions so that Zhuhai`s across-the-board, multilayered and wide-range opening-up system will take shape."
According to official statistics, total foreign trade between Zhuhai and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative reached US$7 billion last year. That figure hit 81.47 billion yuan (US$12.34 billion) in the first 10 months of this year.
To promote economic and trade cooperation with regions along the Belt and Road routes and Latin-American countries, the Zhuhai government released an implementation plan in August. According to the plan, the city will build service bases to exchange resources and explore reforms.
Zhuhai intends to share coastal tourism, its high-level conference and exhibition industry, and culture and sports services with the targeted regions.
To expand imports of tropical fruits, medical materials and health products, Zhuhai will apply for permission to establish pilot trade zones with Association of Southeast Asian Nations regions and Latin-American countries.
In addition, Zhuhai is redoubling efforts in international technology cooperation.
The city is promoting integrated cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao, and is building a high - level international innovative platform to support enterprises from Belt and Road-related and Latin-American countries. It will also boost collaboration in technological services, such as in the intellectual property sector.
Zhuhai has vowed to work with technology parks and business incubators in Hong Kong and Macao to launch technology projects. To explore more projects, the Zhuhai government said it will support the establishment of Zhuhai-Hong Kong and Zhuhai-Macao research institutions, universities and industrial parks, while establishing long-term cooperation mechanisms.
Currently, Zhuhai is working with Germany, Singapore, Israel and other leading innovative countries to strengthen cooperation in creative personnel training and transferring new tech into marketable products.
Local officials said that Zhuhai will create a better development environment to stimulate vitality and release potential in five fields: business, financial services, culture, tourism and ecology.
Experts noted that Zhuhai, with its good geographical location, continuously improving infrastructure, preferential policies for free trade zones and unique city charm, should make efforts to develop the communications, commerce, finance and cultural sectors.
Renmin University`s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies released a list of the Chinese cities most likely to become pivot points of international trade under the Belt and Road Initiative in 2015. Zhuhai ranked No. 1 on the list.
Liu Ying, a researcher at the institute, said that Zhuhai has enough growing room in terms of economic scale, international commerce and trade. It also has a good business environment and infrastructure, Liu added.
Jiang Cailiang, director of the modern logistics research and development center at the Ministry of Transport said: "Zhuhai has the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, an airport and ports: a three-dimensional integrated transportation system.
"When the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is put into operation, Zhuhai will become the only city on the Chinese mainland to connect Hong Kong and Macao at the same time, and will play a more important role in the Belt and Road Initiative," Jiang added.
Liu Ying is a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.