Suifenhe be­com­ing key trade link in NE Asia

Lo­ca­tion makes it bridge to fel­low BRICS mem­ber

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESSDIGEST - By ZHOU HUIY­ING zhouhuiy­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

Bor­der zone

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.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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