Expo spotlights emerging economic giant
The 2017 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo held in Guangdong has a major draw: an emerging economic regional giant called the GuangdongHong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The annual expo held for its fourth year will spotlight the area’s e-commerce, construction machinery and diversified trade measures — aimed at stimulating economic growth in southern China — during the four-day event starting Sept 21.
Wang Yongqing, deputy director of the Guangdong province’s information office, said the expo this year has important events.
It will organize business promotional events in more than 10 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia, to expand its influence.
It will also host the signing of new commercial cooperative contracts with many countries — including South Africa, Italy, Thailand and Sri Lanka — to further deepen trade ties.
The delegation team sent by the expo’s organizing committee will talk with local government officials, chambers of commerce and Chinese embassies in those countries. It will explain the purposes, significance and scale of the expo to them.
Gemstones and tea from Sri Lanka, South Africa’s diamonds, silk and carpet products from Iran, Russia’s honey and agricultural products, Italy’s wine and olive oil, can all be found being traded in the expo.
The expo will also bolster the Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area — to play a bigger role in showing off its advantages in logistics, manufacturing capabilities, trade, financial services and its maritime economy.
“Even though the Greater Bay Area accounts for less than 1 percent of China’s land territory, its population is just under 5 percent of China, it created 13 percent of the country’s economic output in 2015,” said Lin Jiang, deputy director of the Center for Studies of Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta at Sun Yat-sen University.
“In terms of developing international bay areas, the total economic output of the Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area ranks only behind the New York and Tokyo Bay areas.”
The expo this year is themed on “discuss, promote and share industrial and financial cooperation and development”.
It has also grown bigger in scale compared with last year, with the number of companies setting up booths increasing from 1,015 from 42 countries to 1,682 from 56 countries.
Contracts worth 206.8 billion yuan ($31.9 billion) will be signed during the event, up 18 percent year-on-year.
The expo is a mirror for the years of effort Guangdong has put into going global, as 67 percent of attending companies are from overseas, attracted by the opportunities to work with the Guangdong-Hong KongMacao Greater Bay Area.
The construction machinery business will be a highlight of the expo, covering over 6,000 square meters of exhibition area. Several major Chinese heavy machinery manufacturers by production volume will attend the event.
These include Sany Heavy Industry Co, Xugong Group Construction Machinery Inc and Liugong Machinery Co Ltd.
To provide more opportunities for heavy machinery companies to go global, the expo will focus on infrastructure construction planning, by holding a special forum on the Belt and Road Initiative.
The forum has invited government officials from 16 important countries involved in the initiative, including Uganda, Cameroon, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, the Mauritius and Turkey — to keep the domestic manufacturers updated with the latest policies and situation.
Qiu Zhaoxian, vice-president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade’s Guangdong branch, said the services industry will also be one of the most discussed topics during the expo.
This year’s event will also feature the information technology, cross-border e-commerce, agriculture products and international ceramics exhibition from the economies involved in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
“The marine economy has been dominated by shipping, fishing, aquaculture, and oil and gas,” said Wu Jun, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Department of Commerce.
“It now includes sectors such as marine chemistry, biomedicine, ocean power, seawater use, marine tourism, ocean engineering and construction.”
Compared with previous expos, the 2017 expo has added more culture and the human touch, by introducing practical Chinese training programs in different fields.
The expo’s organizing committee will also sign cooperation agreements with the economies participating in Chinese training programs, with 15 business associations from different countries.
Opening ceremony of the 2016 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo in Dongguan. Lin Jiang, deputy director of the Center for Studies of Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta at Sun Yat-sen University
Overseas attendees participate in last year’s Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo.