Business / Economy

Pingtan to play key role in economic cooperation

By HU MEIDONG/SUN LI (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-19 08:34

China Daily is publishing a series of reports focusing on efforts that help the country move forward.

Entrepreneurs from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are betting that Pingtan will play a bigger role in cross-Straits economic cooperation now that Fujian province has won approval to set up a pilot free trade zone.

A State Council executive meeting last week decided that three new pilot free trade zones will be set up in Guangdong and Fujian provinces and in the municipality of Tianjin.

The decision came slightly more than a year after the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was established.

Although the statement by the State Council did not disclose the exact sites or sizes of the new zones, it said they will be built based on existing development parks.

Based on that phrasing, the Fujian site will include the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, making it a prominent section of the FTZ project, said Zhou Qingsong, deputy director of the administrative committee of the Pingtan zone.

Fujian stands out from the other two regions due to its proximity to Taiwan, Zhou said. Pingtan, the closest point to Taiwan on the mainland, has been playing a pioneering role in cross-Straits business ties.

Zhou made the remarks at the 2014 Pingtan Innovation Forum for Entrepreneurs and Scientists. The three-day event, which closed on Wednesday, attracted entrepreneurs from both sides of the Straits.

Liao Hui-cheng, deputy general manager of Taiyen, as the Taiwan Salt Industrial Corp is known, said Pingtan will have an unparalleled advantage in the larger Fujian FTZ scenario.

"Pingtan launched cross-border e-commerce services last month ... and that has significantly reduced logistics costs," Liao said.

Taiyen, which has established a flagship store in Pingtan, will get involved in e-commerce, Liao said, adding that the company will keep a close eye on the progress of the Fujian FTZ project.

Chen Tiewei, a businessman involved in the food industry in Xiamen, Fujian province, said he plans to expand business in Pingtan with the FTZ project around the corner.

"A well-developed trading market dedicated to sales of Taiwan products in Pingtan suggests a good business opportunity in terms of bringing more Taiwan food to other cities on the mainland," Chen said. He said that the FTZ's emphasis on simple business registration procedures is also attractive for entrepreneurs.

Lin Kung-chin, who is involved in the cultural and creative industry in Taoyuan, Taiwan, said that she will be watching the development of the Fujian FTZ.

The appeal of Pingtan lies not just in its proximity to Taiwan but also in its policies that support cross-Straits trade, said Lin, who plans to hold an art exhibition in Pingtan. "That's why I'll think about debuting my mainland business operations in Pingtan."

Zhou said that in order to create a favorable environment for cross-Straits business cooperation, Pingtan will set up an industrial park catering to Taiwan-based small and medium-sized companies, university students and farmers.

The local authorities will also encourage Taiwan-funded financial institutions to set up branch offices in Pingtan.

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