13:51, April 29, 2008
When Pang Yuliang from Zhengzhou in Henan province made a multimillion euro bid to buy an airport in Schwerin, Germany, he had the interest of millions of fellow beer aficionados in mind.
"Every beer drinker in China knows Germans make great beer," the 40-something entrepreneur reportedly said. "But how many people in China have tasted really fresh German beer?"
Answering his own rhetorical question, Pang said: "They will, after I'm done with building up the airport as planned."
By then, beer will almost definitely not be the only commodity to be loaded on China-bound flights. As Pang, founder and chairman of LinkGlobal Logistics, envisaged it, Parchim International Airport will be an important gateway to the growing trade between China and Germany.
His grand plan for Parchim included building a 1 million sq m free trade zone for Chinese enterprises angling for greater access to the European market by establishing manufacturing facilities there.
Pang said the project will be carried out in cooperation with Nanjing Hi-tech Development Zone, which houses more than 1,700 enterprises.
A spokesman for LinkGlobal told China Daily that the logistic complex he planned to build around Parchim would provide services that would save up to 35 percent of the transportation cost for Europe-bound cargoes from China. More important, he said, would be the time saved. "We are talking about 3 or 4 days compared with more than 11 days at present."
As for the proposed free trade zone, the company said Chinese investors in the zone would be entitled to tax and other incentives. The ones most likely to set up shop in the zone include those in industries such as automotive, industrial parts and components, aircraft engineering and electronics.
The project will also include warehouses, cargo handling facilities and an exhibition center. Goodman Germany GmbH, a real estate investment company, is responsible for the design and construction of the project.
If the idea of acquiring an airport in a foreign land sounds audacious, Pang's scheme to physically move clients' cargoes between LinkGlobal's base in Zhengzhou to its newly acquired European base seems even more unusual. To do that, the company has struck a deal with China Railway Container Transportation Co for a daily non-stop train service from Zhengzhou to Urumqi for custom-bonded goods bound for Europe. From there the goods are to be loaded onto cargo planes to Parchim.
LinkGlobal's spokesman said flying goods directly from Urumqi to Parchim would be shorter and would cost significantly lower than the usual routes with stopovers in Dubai and elsewhere in the Emirates.
Source: China Daily