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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 14:53, May 11, 2005
Overseas Chinese businessmen build "economic & trade bridge'' between China and ASEAN
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Located at the permanent site in the suburbs of Nanning, capital of Southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for holding the China-ASEAN Expo the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Zone has attracted more than 100 million yuan or 12.1 million US dollars of investment for a month, reported Li Jia, Che Xiaohui and He ZiLi, reporters with the Xinhua News Agency on May 7.

"Singapore Industrial Park'', "Indonesia Industrial Park''�� gardens in the zone named after ASEAN member countries within the China-ASEAN Economic Zone and built with the investment by overseas Chinese businessmen are becoming the popular investment spots where enterprises from China as well as from various ASEAN member countries are competing with each other.

"With the advantages of blood relations as well as geographical and commercial reasons, overseas Chinese businessmen's network can become the best intermediary for Chinese enterprises to invest in the ASEAN member nations and can also become the best cooperators,'' said Lin Wenguang, president of board of directors with the Indonesian Jinfeng Group that has built the Indonesia Industrial Park in the zone with an investment of 1.5 billion yuan.

"The free trade parks have provided larger business space for oversea Chinese businessmen's network and at the same time they played a special role of "pioneer'', "guide'' and "binder'' for the economic and trade cooperation between China and the ASEAN countries,'' said Zhang Yunling, director with the Institute of the Asian and Pacific Studies under the China Academy of Social Sciences.

In the free trade area built jointly by the ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, China has one advantage that other countries do not possess -- thousands upon thousands of overseas Chinese live in ASEAN member countries, taking kindred feelings as tie with China.

At present, there are more than 20 million overseas Chinese living in the ASEAN member countries and the number of listed Chinese companies accounted for 70 per cent of the listed companies of the whole Southeast Asian stock market. Due to toughness, wisdom and hard work, many Chinese settling down in the ASEAN member countries have been on the way to engage in trade and become successful entrepreneurs. The rapid take-off of China has brought the great opportunity of development to overseas Chinese businessmen in the ASEAN while the overseas Chinese businessmen's network has also played an important role of "bridge'' in the development process of the regional economic integration of China and the ASEAN member countries.

Chen's Family Group formed by famous Thai entrepreneur Keqi Chen and his brothers can be said to be an epitome of the "pioneer'' role that the overseas Chinese businessmen has played in the economic and trade cooperation between China and the ASEAN member countries. On October 1, 2003, China and Thailand cancelled the trade tariffs for more than 100 categories of fruit and vegetable products, which has opened the first door of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. Being certain about the trade chance Keqi Chen not only imported Chinese fruit in a large amount, but also exported large qualities of tropical fruit such as durian of Thailand to the Chinese markets, becoming the forerunner in the Sino-Thai agricultural products trade and winning successes.

The market complementarities, product differences and the Chinese businessmen's role of "trying to make a match'' make the economic, trade and technological cooperation between China and the ASEAN enter into a "golden period''. In the past 10 years, the bilateral trade growth rate between China and the ASEAN has been kept nearly 20 per cent annually. In 2004, the total bilateral trade volume reached 105.8 billion US dollars, up 35 per cent year on year. The ASEAN has become the fifth major trading partner for China for the 12 consecutive years.

The initiative goal of the bilateral trade, investment and technological cooperation was achieved for the first China-ASEAN Expo with the first China free trade area as the theme, which was held last year. More than 100 collaborative projects were signed between Chinese partners and the enterprises from many countries and regions including 10 ASEAN member countries with a total investment reaching nearly 5 billion US dollars. "The overseas Chinese businessmen and groups in all the ASEAN members have made no small contributions to a service and merging role in the bilateral trade between China and the ASEAN'', said Zheng Junjian, vice general-secretary of the Secretariat of the China-ASEAN Expo.

By People's Daily Online

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