Business / Economy

China, Egypt zone in Tianjin to expand

By Zhang Min and Wang Yu (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-28 08:22

As companies are embracing opportunities made possible by China's Belt and Road Initiative, a leading Tianjin firm is not lagging behind.

The China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, whose construction by TEDA Investment Holding Co Ltd began in 2008, is poised to kick off its second phase of expansion, said Zhang Bingjun, chairman of the board of TEDA Holding.

Zhang was speaking on the sidelines of the Summer Davos Forum in Tianjin.

The zone is located at the south end of the Suez Canal and the west coast of the Red Sea, 120 km from Cairo. Both governments have also pointed out that the site is at the intersection of the Belt and Road Initiative's footprint and the New Suez Canal Economic Corridor. In January, President Xi Jinping and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi unveiled the nameplate of the second stage of the project at the zone.

"After the second-phase expansion, the zone is expected to accommodate 200 enterprises, attract $3 billion in investment, and reach $10 billion in annual revenue," Zhang said.

The construction is expected to finish in 15 years, and the zone will turn into an iconic project for the two countries' long-term economic cooperation. According to China's Ministry of Commerce, upon the zone's completion, it will provide up to 40,000 jobs for locals.

Liu Gang, a professor at Binhai Development Research Institute at Nankai University, Tianjin, said that in pursuing the "Going Global (strategy)", Chinese enterprises like TEDA can reduce production costs by the efficient use of local resources and labor forces. Although "Going Global" is a national strategy, the result of global expansion is profitable and beneficial for enterprises.

According to Zhang, an initial 1.34-square-km area has been developed, and 68 enterprises, including 90 percent Chinese-funded ones, have entered the zone. It has created more than 2,000 job opportunities for local workers, attracted about $1 billion in investments, reached $150 million in annual revenue, and paid 200 million Egyptian pounds ($22.5 million) in taxes.

One firm looking to invest in the area is the Shanxi Dayun Group, which just signed a contract to enter the zone and promised to invest $30 million and produce 500,000 motorcycles annually.

Public transportation and energy supplies to the second stage of the project are already in place.

Ni Yuchen contributed to this story.

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