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More domestic investors eyeing W China

Updated: 2013-04-08 16:44
By Yang Jie (

More domestic investors are investing in China's largely unexplored western region thanks to the competitive talent pool and developing inland port in the area.

The five-day annual Investment and Trade Forum for Cooperation between East and West China ended on Tuesday in Xi'an, capital city of the northwestern province of Shaanxi.

The total investment for inter-provincial cooperation projects signed at the forum was 759.2 billion yuan ($122.4 billion), an increase of 81.3 billion yuan over joint projects signed last year.

Yan Xuesheng, general manager of Jiangsu Best Environmental Protection Technology Engineering Co in East China, signed a joint investment memorandum with a Korean company, planning to bring the latter’s welding robots to Xi’an.

“We want to first cooperate with Xi’an Jiaotong University and set up a research center before starting up a branch company,” said Yan, who is impressed by the university’s high quality talent and research resources.

Xi’an is home to 100 universities, which produce 250,000 graduates annually, and 4,000 research institutes.

The western region also provides abundant cheap labor. “The average salary for migrant workers in West China is 60 percent of those in coastal areas,” said Liu Feng, an official at Xi’an International Trade & Logistics Park.

The China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) joined hands with Xi’an Haizhou Industrial Co to build an imported goods promotion center in the park, with a total investment of 6 billion yuan.

“The Brands Park will become the largest imported goods promotion center in the inland area of China,” said Lin Shunjie, the chamber’s general secretary. “It will take advantage of the policy incentives in the bond area in the park and focus on the exhibition and trade of high-end consumer goods imports.”

Five years into its development, Xi’an International Trade & Logistics Park, which is also China’s first international inland port, has become a logistics hub in the western region.

“With strategic cooperation with ports in the coastal areas, like Tianjin port, Qingdao port, Lianyungang port and Shanghai port, the park actually brings coastal ports inland and makes seamless transitions among various transportation methods possible,” said Han Song, deputy mayor of Xi’an. “This greatly enhances the capability of the northwestern region to receive domestic and international industrial transfers.”

Base metal trading giant Maike Metals Group, which is headquartered in Xi’an, is building a commodity exchange center at the park.

“We chose this park because it has good logistics. Besides, this park brings the customs inland, which brings great convenience to our clients involved in international trade and helps them save costs,” said Li Xin, director of the human resources department of China Western Commodity Exchange Center of Maike Metals Group, which now deals with their trade-related businesses mainly in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

The other city in Northwest China that has a bonded area is Alataw Pass, which has a special focus on Central and West Asia.

China Western Commodity Exchange Center is expected to open in 2015, when state-owned companies like China Minmetals Corp and Aluminum Corp of China will join in.

The center will trade physical commodities in four categories – coal, steel, ferrous metal and farm produce -- and trade volume in the first year is expected to hit 500 billion to 1,000 billion yuan and see an annual growth of 100 billion yuan after that.

While Northwest China covers 30 percent of China’s land and 4 percent of the population, the western region of China accounts for more than 70 percent of China’s land mass and 23 percent of the population.

The western region should step up the development of producer services and combine industrial transfers with industrial restructuring to optimize industrial divisions among the eastern, central and western regions, according to China’s 12th five-year plan to develop the western region.