Chinese Government Urges Investors to Go West
[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/03/06; March 6, 2002.]
Asia Times 6 March 2002.
BEIJING and CHENGDU - The vast western part of China offers huge opportunities for overseas Chinese entrepreneurs, said some national committee members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). They called on overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to go west to tap the huge market and rich resources.
"Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs have played a special role in the development of China's coastal regions in the early stage of China's reform and liberalization. Now it is time for them to play the same role in western China," said CPPCC National Committee member Yang Zhaoyuan, who was here to attend the fifth session of the CPPCC national committee that opened on March 3.
The call for overseas Chinese to look westward for investment opportunities comes at a time when China plans to increase loan distribution to three provinces and an autonomous region in western China by 92 billion yuan (US$11.12 billion) to boost the region's economic growth.
The huge population in western China and the low quality of its labor force has led western China to focus on labor-intensive industries. That coincides with overseas Chinese entrepreneurs' intentions to move their labor-intensive industries from the eastern part of the country to the western part, he said. Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs may better display their advantages in management expertise, finance, and outlets to overseas markets in western China, said the CPPCC, adding that the language and culture would also make their cooperation in the region easier.
"Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs are the main investors in China, with total investment amounting to 70 percent of total direct foreign investment in the country. They will play the same crucial role in the western China development drive," said Liu Huijun.
CPPCC National Committee member Chen Hanbin is optimistic that local protectionism will be removed soon now that China has joined the World Trade Organization. With huge government investments in infrastructure, the investment environment will be improving steadily, he said. "Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs have been widely known for their creative thought and business acumen and the opportunities are there," Chen said.
Meanwhile, China is increasing loans to its western regions for an ambitious regional development program. The recipients are Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou provinces and the Tibet Autonomous Region. The loans issued by the country's commercial banks to the four regions will be increased by 54 billion yuan.
Outlining new features of the central bank's support to the four western regions this year, Wang Hongzhang, director of the Chengdu Branch of the People's Bank of China, said priority will be given to pillar trades, and to key enterprises and projects. Other major aspects include the industrialization of agriculture, small and medium-sized technology-intensive enterprises, foreign trade, and areas inhabited by ethnic groups, he added. Statistics showed the central bank provided 79.3 billion yuan in loans to the four regions last year.
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