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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

China seeks win-win development with Asia


14:00, March 10, 2012

BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Residents in Hekou in southwest China can still recall its former days as a quiet, anonymous town that attracted few visitors from neighboring Vietnam for business or sightseeing.

But major changes have hit the town in Yunnan province. With two roads and one rail line linking it with Vietnam, Hekou has become a bustling hub for Vietnamese visitors buying bargain goods, looking for jobs and doing business with local residents.

These changes took place in just a few years, as China vigorously promoted the opening up of its border regions, unlocking commercial bonanzas for border towns like Hekou.

"The border port now reports 10,000 trips to-and-fro every day, and cross-border trade and tourism have prospered in the county," said Deng Yonghe, head of Hekou county.

Deng said the county's foreign trade volume topped 7.6 billion yuan (1.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, a 19-percent rise from the previous year, and currently plans to upgrade infrastructure to meet the demands of commodity flow.

However, Hekou is not the only success story in Yunnan, which borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, and has drawn momentum from China's enhanced interactions with southeast Asian countries.

And the benefits have been mutual, as evidenced by more Asian nationals now seeking education, medical services, and business opportunities in Yunnan, said Wang Shufen, head of the provincial civil affairs department.

Universities in Yunnan have received more than 20,000 foreign students, mostly from southeast Asia, said Luo Chongmin, head of the provincial education department.

"Learning Chinese has become fashionable among students in neighboring countries. The language skills will aid them in future employment," Luo said.

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