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Beijing government to expand work on Silk Road

By DU JUAN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-04-26 14:02
[Photo/VCG]

Beijing's municipal government has connected Chinese companies and cooperative projects in Silk Road countries and plans to expand these efforts, according to an official.

Xiong Jiuling, head of Beijing's Foreign Affairs Office, said the capital will this year increase its non-government exchange programs by enhancing cooperation in commerce, technology, culture, education, and urban management with other nations.

"We will use better methods to coordinate different departments to realize our targets without adding more governmental expenses," she said.

According to the office more than 100 social institutions, companies and colleges in Beijing have taken part in non-government exchange projects in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and Mongolia.

These institutions include the Beijing Sub-Council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Beijing Enterprises Group Real Estate Co, and Beijing Forestry University.

These projects typically cover business cooperation, cultural exchange, children and women's protection, charity, environmental protection, and natural disaster reduction.

Beijing and Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh became sister cities in 2018.

Beijing Enterprises Group has now completed 60 percent of the land purchases required for the Sino-Cambodia Phnom Penh special economic zone, which is planned to be built into a new industrial city.

Qian Xu, president of the group's real estate department leading the project, said the company has completed the regulatory planning of the special economic zone and will soon begin construction.

"The zone is located in a labor-intensive area in Cambodia, which means the project will provide a significant number of jobs for local communities.

"It's expected that up to 100,000-200,000 locals will gather in the new economic zone after its completion. They will get rid of poverty by working in this zone," he said.

Qian said the project will also benefit Chinese businesses.

"Many Chinese companies go overseas to expand their businesses. However due to a lack of experience, most of them face huge obstacles abroad.

"Our company, which has done business overseas for more than 40 years, will provide a familiar business environment for other Chinese companies in this new economic zone in Cambodia," he said.

A number of Chinese companies have joined the new project, according to Qian, who said that companies should follow national policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative while also turning a profit.

"Only in this way development can be sustainable," he said.

Zhonghao Overseas Construction Engineering Co Ltd, a private Beijing-based company established in 2001, has been drilling wells in countries along the Silk Road such as Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Algeria and Kenya.

Tian Chao, company president, said these projects have given jobs to local people, solved their water problems, and helped foreign exchange.

"The projects are platforms for more positive things we can do for these countries," he said.

According to the company it has drilled about 10,000 wells in 275 projects worth $510 million.

These wells, the company said, help ensure clean drinking water for more than 20 million African people.

The company employs around 200 Chinese staff members of an average of 30 in Africa.

"They are young with dreams to realize something in their lives in Africa," he said.

"The living and working conditions are tough, but their connections and careers are there. Many of them have forged deep friendships with the local Africans."

The company actively invested in projects beneficial to local communities in Africa with the help of the Beijing's Foreign Affairs Office, the company said.

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