Land-locked Central China shows promise

Updated: 2011-12-09 15:36

By Zhang Zhao (China Daily)

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China's Henan province, everyone knows, was referred top as the "central land" long ago, but both its economy and the minds of its people remained closed for a long time - until China joined the World Trade Organization.

Now, a decade later, authorities in the land-locked province have developed a broader, global view and understand the spirit of cooperation and competition.

Over the past decade, the province has developed more cultural exchanges and more trade partnerships, and has moved ahead in technology and human resources so that it is more open to the outside world than ever before.

The provincial government went along with China's WTO commitments in amending its policies and abolished more than 100 old regulations and promoted new ones in international trade, to follow the "rules of the game".

In August 2008 it recognized that an opening-up policy would "be the key strategy for economic and social development".

Henan now has policies backing an open economy and it is one of the first provinces to set up a registration system for international businesses and provide a free-agent system for overseas investors.

Its imports and exports are expected to reach 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) this year. A decade ago, the figure was only 2.8 billion yuan. The amount of paid-in foreign capital in 2001 was $457 million. That figure is expected to grow more than 20-fold, to $10 billion worth by the end of this year.

The "central land" has also becomes a good place for investment and has attracted 72 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than 120 of China's top 500 companies.

It has five national economic development zones and four national high-tech zones and trade partnership with more than 180 countries and regions.

Many of Henan's Chinese companies also have businesses overseas and have built nearly 20 industrial projects abroad, even power plants and iron and steel factories.