An Alpine Ar­chi­tec­tural Mar­vel

Beijing (English) - - BEIJING’S ACTION - Trans­lated by Huang Xing­pin, pol­ished by Png Yu Fung

Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk is lo­cated in the Repub­lic of Be­larus. In­te­grated with Chi­nese ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments like pitched roofs, white walls and grey tiles, the ho­tel is like a pearl el­e­gantly nes­tled in the city. It is not only a ma­jor “Belt and Road” project in­vested and con­structed by Chi­nese com­pa­nies, but also the first overseas ho­tel de­signed, built and op­er­ated by China. As the lead­ing en­ter­prise dur­ing the con­struc­tion of the ho­tel, Bei­jing Uni- Con­struc­tion Group (BUCC) in­vested in and took charge of con­struc­tion of the project as well as de­vel­oped sev­eral res­i­den­tial district projects in the lo­cal area, win­ning rep­u­ta­tion in Be­larus and ac­cu­mu­lat­ing suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ence for ex­pand­ing its overseas busi­ness.

Mission Im­pos­si­ble in 25 Months

In May 2015, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping ar­rived in Be­larus for a three-day visit at the in­vi­ta­tion of Alexan­der Lukashenko, pres­i­dent of Be­larus, and stayed in the Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk. The ho­tel is also the venue for hold­ing China–be­larus Re­gional Eco­nomic and Trade Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum.

The ho­tel is im­pres­sive, in­te­grat­ing tra­di­tional Chi­nese ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments into mod­ern de­sign and com­bin­ing the lo­cal flavour of Be­larus. To com­plete this project, BUCC had over­come nu­mer­ous hard­ships such as harsh cli­mate and tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties. The con­struc­tion of the project com­menced in March 2012 and fin­ished within 25 months. Once re­garded as an im­pos­si­ble mission by lo­cals, the project is deemed a mar­vel by the Chi­nese en­ter­prise.

The project is lo­cated in a park that com­mem­o­rates the 40th an­niver­sary of the vic­tory of World War II, which has his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance to Be­larus. The chal­lenge was to deal with the trees and turves with­out dam­ag­ing the park's orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance in a cold en­vi­ron­ment. Wang Dongyu, gen­eral man­ager of BUCC'S Overseas Con­struc­tion En­gi­neer­ing De­part­ment, de­cided that the 69 trees lo­cated within the area should be trans­planted, while the 20 cen­time­tre-thick turves should be packed up and de­liv­ered to a land­scap­ing com­pany and then paved on the ground again af­ter the project's com­ple­tion. This shows China's con­struc­tion en­ter­prises' re­spect for coun­tries along the Belt and Road.

Be­larus is a high-al­ti­tude coun­try with long winters. The av­er­age tem­per­a­ture of the five cold­est months in a year is 18 de­grees Cel­sius below zero dur­ing the day and 30 de­grees Cel­sius blow zero at night. Given two years to com­plete a project that would have taken three years, BUCC was faced with un­prece­dented chal­lenges brought by a tight sched­ule, chal­leng­ing tasks and low tem­per­a­tures. To com­plete the project on time, more than 1,000 con­struc­tion work­ers worked si­mul­ta­ne­ously. In the course of con­struc­tion, re­sis­tance heat­ing wire was used to heat con­crete to ob­tain ideal com­pres­sive strength. Be­fore pour­ing con­crete, re­sis­tance wire was bound with re­bar. Af­ter pour­ing the con­crete, the re­sis­tance wire was charged with elec­tric­ity for 72 hours to en­sure that the con­crete would main­tain the same char­ac­ter as that at nor­mal tem­per­a­ture when the sur­round­ing tem­per­a­ture was 30 de­grees Cel­sius below zero.

In ad­di­tion, BUCC had tack­led prob­lems such as con­ver­sion of dif­fer­ent stan­dards of the two coun­tries, com­ple­tion of com­pli­cated dis­patch pro­ce­dures and long pe­riod of pur­chas­ing and trans­porta­tion of sup­plies, to guar­an­tee the con­struc­tion progress. To en­sure the project be de­liv­ered on sched­ule, none of the con­struc­tion work­ers had taken leave and all per­se­vered in their work dur­ing two years.

When Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk de­liv­ered on sched­ule on April 28, 2014, Ana­toly A. Tozik, for­mer vice prime min­is­ter of Be­larus, who had al­ways been con­cerned about the progress of the project, was amazed at the Chi­nese con­struc­tion en­ter­prise's ef­fi­ciency and also ap­proved Chi­nese stan­dards. The com­ple­tion of the project caused quite a stir in all sec­tors of Belorus­sian so­ci­ety and its high ef­fi­ciency and good qual­ity were spo­ken highly of by the lo­cal gov­ern­ment and con­struc­tion in­dus­try. Wang Dongyu said that the project dis­played BUCC'S first-class con­struc­tion abil­ity. It has since be­come a land­mark build­ing sym­bol­is­ing the friend­ship be­tween Be­larus and China and mark­ing the devel­op­ment of the Belt and Road, lay­ing a good foun­da­tion for the com­pany to ex­pand its overseas con­struc­tion busi­ness.

Friendly Co­op­er­a­tion Serv­ing Lo­cal So­cioe­co­nomic Devel­op­ment

As an early mu­nic­i­pal-level State- owned en­ter­prise to un­der­take projects in Be­larus, BUCC now has be­come one of the most in­flu­en­tial Chi­nese en­ter­prises in the re­gion. When talk­ing about BUCC, Wang Dongyu

said that BUCC'S team has es­tab­lished good re­la­tion­ships with the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, em­bassy, the com­mer­cial de­part­ment and lo­cal Chi­nese en­ter­prises. Thanks to im­ple­men­ta­tion of sev­eral projects, the man­age­ment team com­prised of both Chi­nese and Belorus­sian staff who co­op­er­ate and com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively with lo­cal sup­pli­ers and sub­con­trac­tors of con­struc­tion, en­ergy, in­spec­tion, and de­sign. Since they have un­der­stood and adapted to lo­cal norms and stan­dards, they could con­vert dif­fer­ent stan­dards held by the two coun­tries and han­dle prob­lems that come up dur­ing con­struc­tion.

By virtue of ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion, co­op­er­a­tion and build­ing tech­niques, BUCC pro­motes lo­cal so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment for coun­tries along the Belt and Road, achiev­ing progress through co­op­er­a­tion. Cur­rently, Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk has be­come one of the largest and most high- end five-star ho­tels in Be­larus, hous­ing com­mer­cial build­ings, of­fices and re­cre­ation cen­tres. In 2015, BUCC won the bid for the con­struc­tion of China–be­larus In­dus­trial Park. In ac­cor­dance with the trend of eco­nomic glob­al­i­sa­tion, the park vig­or­ously de­vel­ops the ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try and grad­u­ally com­pletes func­tions such as liv­ing ser­vices, sci­en­tific re­search and med­i­cal treat­ment. In the fu­ture, the in­dus­trial park will be built into an in­ter­na­tional city fea­tur­ing ecol­ogy, live­able en­vi­ron­ment, pros­per­ous busi­ness, vi­tal­ity and in­no­va­tion, and play a sig­nif­i­cant role in pro­mot­ing eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the two coun­tries.

In ad­di­tion to com­mer­cial projects that pro­mote lo­cal eco­nomic devel­op­ment, BUCC has un­der­taken liveli­hood projects that would im­prove the qual­ity of lo­cal peo­ple's life. The “G” sec­tion of the Sev­enth Ulan Ba­tor Res­i­den­tial District project un­der­taken by BUCC is a large wel­fare-ori­ented pub­lic hous­ing project to be es­tab­lished in Sukhbaatar. As part of Ulan Ba­tor's plan for re­build­ing shanty ar­eas, it is highly val­ued by the lo­cal gov­ern­ment and aims to curb in­creas­ing con­ges­tion and pol­lu­tion in Ulaan­baatar.

In terms of is­sues con­cern­ing overseas busi­ness like project se­lec­tion, friendly co­op­er­a­tion, pro­mo­tion of lo­cal econ­omy and brand build­ing, Wang Dongyu holds that four as­pects should be con­sid­ered: en­ter­prise's com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages, overseas mar­ket de­ploy­ment and devel­op­ment strat­egy, lo­cal gov­ern­ment poli­cies and mar­ket sit­u­a­tion, and eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits of the project. Tak­ing the Swan Res­i­den­tial District project for ex­am­ple, Wang said, “Be­fore in­vest­ing in the project, we have an­a­lysed and stud­ied pol­i­tics, econ­omy, nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and project in­for­ma­tion of mul­ti­ple coun­tries, and also con­ducted in­depth ex­plo­ration of Minsk gov­ern­ment's free al­lo­ca­tion and rel­e­vant pref­er­en­tial poli­cies for con­struc­tion mar­ket and in­vested in con­struc­tion land. In con­sid­er­a­tion of our com­pany's overseas busi­ness devel­op­ment strat­egy, we fi­nally de­cided to make our first in­vest­ment in Be­larus. This project helped us es­tab­lish our com­pany brand in Minsk and also paved the way for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides.”

Through con­struc­tion of build­ings that pro­mote lo­cal eco­nomic devel­op­ment and im­prove qual­ity of life, BUCC has ac­cu­mu­lated ex­pe­ri­ence in par­tic­i­pat­ing con­struc­tion

of overseas projects and Belt and Road projects. Wang Dongyu sum­marised that co­op­er­a­tion, in-depth re­search and study, ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion, out­stand­ing teams, and mea­sures suit­ing lo­cal con­di­tions will all sup­port the smooth projects. How­ever, the en­ter­prise should also try to avoid overseas in­vest­ment risks and pay at­ten­tion to changes of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sit­u­a­tions, as well as dif­fer­ences be­tween the two coun­tries in sys­tem, tech­ni­cal stan­dards, lan­guage, cul­ture and law. There­fore, the en­ter­prise should strengthen man­age­ment on so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity risks of overseas projects, gain in-depth knowl­edge of lo­cal pol­i­tics, laws, cul­ture, re­li­gions, cus­toms and in­ter­ested par­ties' de­mands, and en­hance risk recog­ni­tion and as­sess­ment, to sup­port de­ci­sion mak­ing of overseas busi­ness. The en­ter­prise should ful­fil its so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, ad­here to in­tegrity man­age­ment, re­spect lo­cal cus­toms, pro­tect nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, se­cure rights and in­ter­ests of lo­cal staff, bet­ter lo­cal­i­sa­tion, ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in com­mu­nity con­struc­tion, and es­tab­lish its cor­po­rate im­age as a re­spon­si­ble Chi­nese en­ter­prise.

Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk

The ho­tel is lo­cated be­tween the Svis­loch River and Red Army Street in Lenin­ski District, em­braced by the river on two sides and sur­rounded by lush trees. Based on tra­di­tional Chi­nese ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign, the ho­tel in­te­grates Chi­nese el­e­ments into its mod­ern de­sign. The façade of the ho­tel is dom­i­nated by black, white and grey and built with a mod­ern sim­ple de­sign, which high­lights Chi­nese ink wash paint­ing. Mean­while, the use of red, a tra­di­tion­ally pop­u­lar colour in China, and colour of lo­cal birch for­est in­di­cates in­her­i­tance of tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture and pays homage to lo­cal cul­ture.

The project is lo­cated in China–be­larus In­dus­trial Park, 25 kilo­me­tres to the east of Minsk and neigh­bour­ing Minsk Na­tional Air­port. The Phase I project cov­ers a planned site area of 29.23 hectares and a to­tal build­ing area of 28,000 square me­tres. The Busi­ness Cen­tre cov­ers an area of 6,255.6 square me­tres, and the trade show cen­tre cov­ers 21,930 square me­tres. The Busi­ness Cen­tre was among the first groups of projects to be con­structed in the in­dus­trial park and was the first one to be com­pleted. Ac­claimed as No.1 Build­ing of China–be­larus In­dus­trial Park, the busi­ness cen­tre fea­tures char­ac­ter­is­tics of lo­cal ar­chi­tec­ture and will be­come a land­mark build­ing of the Phase I project. Sec­ond Ten­dered Sec­tion of Phase I Con­struc­tion Project of China–be­larus In­dus­trial Park

Lobby of Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk

Ban­quet Hall of Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk

En­trance to Bei­jing Ho­tel Minsk

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