ASEAN sees business opportunities in central China province

08:31, June 29, 2011      

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Central China's Henan Province on Tuesday inked 127 investment projects with enterprises from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during an economic cooperation meeting in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan.

Business conglomerates, including the Charoen Pokphand Group, participated in the meeting, signing contracts with a total value of 5.2 billion U.S. dollars, said Shi Jichun, vice governor of Henan.

The projects focus on the manufacturing and new energy sectors, Shi said.

Business people and officials said that as labor costs and land prices have surged in the coastal regions, more foreign capitals are eyeing China's vast inland areas, which boast abundant resources and a rising market.

As a beneficiary of this inward-moving trend, Henan Province received foreign investments totaling 6.25 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, a rise of 30 percent year-on-year.

Its trade with ASEAN member countries reached 1.58 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, making ASEAN the third largest trading partner of Henan.

"Henan and ASEAN countries both have plentiful resources and great potential, and we expect more cooperation in trade, tourism, and investment from both sides," said Thitapha Wattanapruttipaisan, Head of the Competition Consumer Protection and IPR Division of ASEAN.

J. Mark Hemmann, managing director of Regeneration Capital Group, said as Western investors move to "discover" China's middle-sized and small cities, more commercial opportunities will come for provinces like Henan.

"Western companies used to focus on big Chinese cities, which is often a mistake because in China most of the business is done outside Beijing and Shanghai," Hemmann said.

The development of strong regional markets in China, therefore, will continue to attract foreign funds and to sustain vibrant growth even as the export market remains in the doldrums, he said.

Source: Xinhua
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