Suifenhe becoming key trade link in NE Asia
Location makes it bridge to fellow BRICS member
The growing trade and investment cooperation between China and Russia could prove lucrative for many businesspeople in the border city of Suifenhe, local officials say.
According to the local government, the city in the southeast of Heilongjiang province is now home to 200 people whose personal wealth has surpassed 100 million yuan each.
Encouraged by the deepening cooperation between the two countries, more and more businesspeople in Suifenhe are looking to join their ranks in the next two decades, said the Suifenhe government.
Unlike their focus in border trade in the past decade, businesspeople in Suifenhe are now capitalizing on investment in Russia.
According to the city government, local businesses have invested in more than 150 projects in Russia, with a total value of $1 billion so far.
Sharing a border of more than 3,000 kilometers with Russia, the northeastern province of Heilongjiang is regarded as the bridgehead for SinoRussian trade and investment, and Suifenhe is at the forefront of such business links.
To promote the development of Sino- Russian trade, the government of Suifenhe has put forward a new strategy to integrate the three major zones for trade and investment — the Suifenhe Comprehensive Bonded Area, the Border Economic Cooperation Zone and the Sino- Russian Trade Zone.
The three zones complement each other. Investors can select one of the three zones to locate their operations and enjoy the same preferential policies and the same quality service with unified standards.
Alibaba, China’s largest e- commerce provider, announced at the end of last year that it would set up operations in Suifenhe, prompting a new boom of border trade, according to the government.
With a total investment of 115 million yuan ($ 18.9 million), the Alibaba SinoRussian Cloud Warehousing and Logistics Center will be operational later this month, according to the city government.
Government officials said construction on other large logistics facilities is paving the way for the expected surge in cross-border e-business.
As the nation’s pilot city for Sino-Russian trade and investment settlement, Suifenhe has established Heilongjiang’s first ruble cash trade center, facilitating the free exchange between renminbi and the ruble.
Businesses can enjoy extensive services at the center, including foreign currency settlement, international settlement for e-business and assistance for rapid customs clearance and tax rebate.
Another facility that will greatly facilitate cross-border trade and investment is the Suifenhe Border Economic Cooperation Zone.
Construction on the zone began in April 2012, and its first phase was completed at the end of this September.
According to the city government, the zone will have six functional areas and one center in the future — the Heilongjiang Import and Export Processing Industrial Area, the Comprehensive Bonded Area, the International Logistics Industry Area, the Imported Chemicals Industry Area, the Emerging Industry Demonstration Area, and the Imported Timber Reserve, Processing and Trade Area as well as the Border Economic Cooperation and Investment Service Center.
To date, the timber processing and trade area, which covers an area of 8 million square meters — has received 7.5 billion yuan worth of investment.
The new zone will include the existing Comprehensive Bonded Area, currently the largest bonded area in Northeast China.
Since opening its doors to investors earlier this year, the bonded area has drawn 60 domestic enterprises with incentives like tax exemption and reduction.
The Suifenhe Border Economic Cooperation Zone is now among the 10 mostimportant development zones in Heilongjiang province.
By accelerating the development of various industrial zones and pillar industries like timber processing, logistics and cross- border financial service, Suifenhe is expected to become the national hub for Sino-Russian trade, investment and export processing, according to the government.
The 2013 Suifenhe Cross-Border Trade Expo, held from Aug 8 to 12, attracted more than 60,000 business visitors, including 25,000 from neighboring Russia and other Northeast Asian countries.
Small appliances made in China are hot items among Russian visitors at the expo.