Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone: Bonds of International Trade
The Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone, invested by Beijing Capital Land, is China’s first large comprehensive industry park, providing Chinese enterprises with a platform integrating talent training, technological innovation and product promotion.
The Sino- France Economic Cooperation Zone, located in Châteauroux, central France, is a wholly owned subsidy of Beijing Capital Land, a Chinesefunded enterprise. The zone invested in and constructed the incubator called Innovation Centre No.1, which creates a good environment for the development of innovative and start- up enterprises.
China has proposed and promoted the Belt and Road Initiative in the hope of promoting the spirit of peace, friendship, openness and inclusiveness. It explores new patterns of international economic cooperation and development in new situations, especially the efficient coordination and cooperation of resources of the countries along the Belt and Road. Therefore, it enables those countries to achieve more rapid, efficient and coordinated development, stimulating extensive civil cooperation, cultural exchanges and common prosperity.
In the context of “Going Global,” Beijing Capital Land decided on Châteauroux where it has invested and built the Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone on an area of 4.60 square kilometres. This is China's first large-scale integrated industrial park in developed countries, and a scientific and technological innovation cooperation park for Sino-eu trade cooperation, integrating comprehensive logistics, bonded warehousing and processing, and educational cooperation and scientific research. It will not only promote the economic development of Châteauroux, but also inject vitality into France and Western Europe against the downturn.
China Model with Global Influence
In 2012, Beijing Capital Land signed a land agreement with French government to invest in and build the Sino-france Economic
Cooperation Zone with an expected investment of about 2 billion euros. With the aim to build a platform of economic and cultural cooperation and exchange between China and Europe, the project received attention and support from the governments of China and France. As the first zone built by Chinese-owned enterprises in developed countries, it has become a unique exemplar in the industry.
Home to the Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone, Châteauroux boasts excellent geographical location and traffic conditions with a population of 100,000. The city is located in the centre of French and Western Europe, adjacent to the international freight airport, rail lines and expressways to major European cities. It takes less than two hours to fly to London, Milan, Madrid, Dublin and Frankfurt from Châteauroux. With such excellent location and traffic conditions, Châteauroux becomes a public logistics platform with full functions and broad coverage.
The establishment of the economic cooperation zones in countries along the Belt and Road conforms to the common needs of both China and local countries. Economic globalisation is an inevitable trend of the world economy, and China's economy has reached the stage of going global.
Zhang Hao, deputy general manager of the Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone, introduced the zone included three sections. Sino-france International University Town will facilitate the exchanges and communication between Chinese and French universities; International Innovation Research and Development Park will guide China to carry out overseas scientific research cooperation; and Logistics Industrial Park will promote scientific and technological innovation and better serve China-eu trades.
Two Engines Boosting Trade
Wang Shouyu, chairman of the Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone, believes that Sino-france International University Town and Logistics Industrial Park will become two engines of China-eu trade.
Located in the north of the cooperation zone, the Sino-france International University Town Phase I occupies an area of 250,000 square metres and a construction area of 90,000 square metres. After its completion, the university town will be able to accommodate about 3,000 teachers and students, becoming the largest overseas base of Chinese universities with five functional centres— China-eu Talent Training Base, Vocational Education Base, Research and Development Base, Business Incubator Base, and Cultural Exchange Base. The university town Phase I Project A has been essentially completed, including administrative buildings, classroom buildings, canteens and 180 student dormitories.
The Sino-france International University Town will become Europe's largest university cluster and core area of the cooperation zone to reserve talent and carry out research and development. The university town has initiated the Sino-france International Education and Culture Exchange Association, in the hope of promoting Sino-france education and culture exchanges, combining the two countries' universities, education, training institutions and well-known enterprises, as well as sharing resources and deepening cooperation in education, teaching, practice, training, innovation, and scholarship.
The Logistics Industrial Park, located in the centre of the zone, will construct the Overseas Warehouse, the Overseas Distribution Centre, and Overseas Display Centre, to meet the demands of overseas e-commerce business. It will construct a base for enterprises' overseas display, storage and after-sales services and a logistic hub for China-eu trade.
The park is near the Châteauroux International Airport and the Châteauroux Railway Freight Station. The airport can transport international passengers and freight. The freight airport is open every day with considerable annual volume of freight traffic. The railway freight station is a provincial railway transport centre with the current transport capacity of about 600,000 tons. In the future, the high-speed railway between Paris and Toulouse will connect the north and south of Europe, and many development parks. The free A20 Expressway between the urban area of Châteauroux and the Châteauroux International Airport will extend north to Germany and south to Spain, and connect the expressways of major European cities.
Currently, the French government intends to establish a New International Business Division Logistics Centre in the Logistics Industrial Park. Tianjin DTW Logistics has worked with Europe small and medium-sized logistics enterprises alliance to set up International Logistics Distribution Centre in the Logistics Industrial Park. DTW Logistics is responsible for collecting freight in China, while the alliance is responsible for distributing the freight to various destination cities in Europe. In the future, more logistics enterprises will be stationed in the park to promote the communication between China and Europe and attract domestic logistics enterprises to invest in France.
Start-ups Boost Local Economy
France has been recognised as one of the entrepreneurship countries, with extensive start-up foundation. Governments at all levels hope that entrepreneurship will bring new commercial development and drive economic growth.
The park will include three clusters after its completion: the University Laboratory and Scientific Research Institution Cluster, to facilitate the overseas research and international communication of Chinese universities and research institutions, the Enterprise Research and Development Centre, to promote industrial and technological agglomeration; and the SinoFrance Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incubator, to provide support in terms of site, capital and policy.
The Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Incubation Base inside the International Innovation Research and Development Park occupies a construction area of over 60,000 square metres. The Innovation Centre No.
1, the first mass entrepreneurship space in the base, was completed. It covers an area of 4,400 square metres. A number of enterprises have already moved into the centre.
According to Zhang Hao, the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Incubation Base is qualified to enjoy France's supportive policies, particularly the favourable policies or regulations applicable to the International Innovation Research and Development Park only. The park's newly- established enterprises will enjoy the reduction or exemption of the enterprise income taxation for five years; enterprises will receive an average subsidy of 6,000 euros for every new job post created; Chinese employees who work in a branch set up by the Chinese enterprises will receive work permits. They will have the chance to be together with family members who can enjoy social welfares, such as free employment training and education.
The park offers software and hardware services for start-up and demonstrates the advantages of Chinese and foreign enterprises. It will create two markets and bring new opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
With the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone has become the focus of attention. Supported by abundant capitals, precise market positioning and local cooperation strategy, Beijing Capital Land is expanding its development scale in overseas market.
Beijing Capital Land has involved local people in both the Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone Project and the real estate projects in Australia, and managed Chinese employees according to local laws, regulations and culture. This provides job opportunities in local countries, enables Chinese employees to experience and learn local culture, and cultivates talent for its international development.
Back in Australia, Beijing Capital Land conducted in-depth study of the laws of global market, and seized the opportunities of real estate market in Sydney and other places where many Chinese people live in and entered Australian market in 2014. It worked with Australian developer Dyldam to jointly open up overseas market and achieve win-win results via local enterprises' influence and reputation.
Zhang Hao also summarised Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone's significance for the Belt and Road Initiative and the “going global” strategy.
The settlement of group of Chinese enterprise in the zone and their cooperation with local enterprises open an international market for China-funded enterprises, which brings new growth pole for French enterprises. China has a huge market and many countries are willing to cooperation with China. China will strengthen the communications and exchanges with countries along the Belt and Road. The Sino-france Economic Cooperation Zone has served as a bridgehead for China to Europe and a window for European enterprise to understand China.
Aerial view of the Sino- France Economic Cooperation Zone