Foreign enterprises explore opportunities in northeast China

Updated: August 30, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Visitors buy products from Nepal at the 14th China-Northeast Asia Expo in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, Aug. 24, 2023. (Xinhua/Xu Chang)

CHANGCHUN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- A major expo in northeast China's Jilin Province has attracted an array of foreign enterprises keen to tap business opportunities there.

Jilin was once largely overlooked by foreign investors due to its history as an old industrial base and part of China's "Rust Belt." However, the province has now moved into a variety of emerging industries, including new energy and new materials, after consolidating traditional sectors like automobiles and agriculture.

Located at the heart of the Northeast Asian economic circle, Jilin Province has been steadily advancing its high-level opening-up in recent years.

According to data from the Jilin provincial department of commerce, the province's exports reached 28.14 billion yuan (about 3.9 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of this year, a year-on-year growth of 25.3 percent, 21.6 percentage points higher than the national average. Exports to countries along the Belt and Road increased by 78.2 percent.

The transformation is turning Jilin into a popular destination for foreign enterprises seeking investment and growth in the Northeast Asia region.

At the 14th China-Northeast Asia Expo, which closed on Sunday in the provincial capital Changchun, over 1,000 domestic and international companies, including AstraZeneca and the RCEP Alliance from the Republic of Korea (ROK), set up exhibition booths, attracting a steady stream of business visitors.

Representatives from governments, enterprises and academia across Northeast Asian countries gathered to explore cooperation opportunities in more than 30 themed forums and business negotiations.

"Previously, I had only participated in small-scale B2B exhibitions. But through the China-Northeast Asia Expo, I have come to realize the vast market and cooperation potential in Northeast China," said Egor Andreev, Asia-Pacific project director of Russia's search engine operator Yandex, during the Northeast Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Meeting for Young Entrepreneurs at the expo.

Andreev said that Yandex provides investment consulting services for Chinese companies interested in investing in Russia and introduces their products to the Russian market.

He believes that an increasing number of Chinese businesses, particularly in the mechanical and electronics sectors, are proactively seeking cooperation to expand into overseas markets. "We hope to seek more cooperation with enterprises in the automobile sector at the expo, as Changchun is known as the cradle of China's automobile industry," he added.

Like Andreev, many representatives of foreign enterprises participating in the expo have been impressed by Jilin's new vitality. They have praised the government's sincerity, the vast consumer market and the development momentum of emerging industries.

"We are seeking new opportunities with old friends," said Lee Yoon-woo, chairman of Dai Han Pharm. Co., Ltd., a "time-honored brand" in ROK's medical device industry.

During the expo, Lee participated in activities like the Korean Business Day, yielding many pleasant surprises. "In the past, we focused more on the relatively developed coastal regions of China. Through this promotion, I learned about platforms like the China-ROK (Changchun) International Cooperation Demonstration Zone in the Northeast region, a national-level cooperation platform between China and the ROK," said Lee.

"I look forward to establishing more mutually beneficial collaborations with local governments and enterprises in the upcoming events," he added.  

Editor: Yang Yifan