Hunan looks to advance Belt and Road

Juzizhou is a popular tourist destination at Xiangjiang River in Changsha, capital of Hunan province. [Photo: China Daily]

Hunan has implemented an innovation-led and opening-up strategy in recent years and stepped up international cooperation, local officials said.

The province has sought to enhance the opening-up of its economy with a series of events this year.

At the most recent event, more than 50 companies from 20-plus countries and regions participated in an expo for agricultural machinery, mining machinery and electronic ceramics in Loudi, central Hunan, on Sept 27.

While in June, the 15th East Asia Forum was held in Changsha, the capital of Hunan, on the 20th anniversary of cooperation among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan and South Korea.

Du Jiahao, Party chief of Hunan, said at the 15th East Asia Forum, that the province is fully using its advantage as a link between the eastern coastal areas and the central and western areas to integrate into the Belt and Road Initiative.

Local companies in Hunan are also active in participating in the national initiative.

Several internationally competitive enterprises based in Hunan, such as Sany Heavy Industry, Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology and Sunward Equipment Group, have accelerated their overseas expansion.

Sany, a leading engineering machinery manufacturer, has set up factories or research and development centers in Turkey, Russia, Belgium, France, Germany and India.

Zoomlion began construction on an industrial park of in Belarus in April.

The $50-million project, which covers an area of 13.33 hectares, will become a localized R&D and production center for construction equipment and agriculture machinery.

Preparations are also underway for the construction of an industrial park in Ethiopia. It is China's only industrial manufacturing cooperation park in Africa promoted by a provincial government.

After it is completed, the project will play an important role in helping Hunan's companies to enter Africa. Among the first group of companies to settle in the park will be Sany and Changgao Electric Group.

The 2017 Hunan-Africa Local Industrial Cooperation Conference hosted in September was also an important event to further promote Hunan's integration into the Belt and Road Initiative and respond to the 10 cooperation plans between China and Africa, local officials said.

The event, hosted in Changsha on Sept 21 and 22, attracted industrialists from 20 African countries to discuss cooperation in industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, finance and public health.

Hunan Governor Xu Dazhe said during the event that the province will seek cooperation in various fields and projects and strengthen policy support based on the practical needs of African countries, so as to build closer partnerships.

Hunan will begin with industries where the two sides have a strong desire and well-established basic conditions for cooperation, Xu said.

Statistics from the province's commerce department show companies and organizations in Changsha funded 84 investment projects in the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative from 2014 to 2016, accounting for nearly half of the city's total outbound investment in the same period.

Entrepreneurs and investors from Hunan had invested a total of $9.2 billion in nearly 1,350 companies in 87 foreign countries and regions by the end of 2016.

Editor: zhangjunmian