Business / Industries

Jade provides vital connection with Myanmar

By Yang Wanli (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-27 10:21

"China and Myanmar have a long trading history, largely based on the two taking full of advantage of each other's natural resources, which has established a mutually beneficial business relationship," said Zhang Yunling, director of the Asia-Pacific Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"This has helped boost both economies across a wide range of industries, one of the best examples of which is tourism."

Ruili is a bustling town and has become a regional trade center for Yunnan as a result of its closeness to Myanmar. The jade industry also means that the town is now firmly on the tourist map, as visitors experience the industry for themselves.

Apart from these economic benefits, the jade trade has also promoted bilingual education and culture exchanges.

In 2008, China's central and the Yunnan provincial governments invested 200 million yuan in new buildings and an upgrading of facilities at 28 mostly primary schools along the border.

At Pianma School in a small border town in Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture, 25 students from Myanmar are studying alongside their Chinese peers and all of them can speak both Mandarin and Burmese fluently.

Wu Liumei, 13, who was born and raised in a town 10 kilometers from the Chinese border in Myanmar, has spent seven years studying Mandarin and other subjects in Pianma.

He said gaining an education in China has become a popular trend in Myanmar and his elder sister is now studying at a college in the capital of Yunnan, Kunming.

His father works for the local government.

"My sister will get a decent job after graduation and earn more due to her bilingual abilities. She always encourages us to learn Mandarin because China is our most-important trading partner," he said.

Hu Yongqi contributed to the story.

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