Luosiwan International Trade City is the largest trading and logistics center in China's southwest, with a huge influence on the Southeast Asian markets. Chen Yuzhou / for China Daily
While Yunnan province gets itself ready to be the business and trade gateway to South and Southeast Asian countries, its capital, Kunming, expects to play a major role as a hub for all that activity, the Party chief has said.
The State Council approved the province's "gateway" plan in May and Kunming sees itself as "a regional financial hub for Southeast Asia and South Asia," the Party chief, Qiu He, explained.
As if to support Qiu's statement, Liu Guangxi, head of the provincial government's finance office, said, "The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area will help give Kunming international influence."
Liu added that Kunming is expected to be not just a finance hub for the free trade area, but also for the Pan-Asia region, in about 20 years.
The city is in fact the first city in Yunnan to get involved in cross-border renminbi settlements, as construction work moves ahead on a cross-border financial services center.
In its role as a hub is not just in the finance business, the city has moved ahead in other fields such as transport, manufacturing, and investment.
On the sidelines of the 2nd China-ASEAN Industry Cooperation Conference, on July 3, the Kunming offices of the China-ASEAN Business Council's Chinese secretariat and seven ASEAN chambers of commerce opened in the Luosiwan International Trade City, a key investment project in the city.
Work on this key Kunming investment project by the Yunnan Zhonghao Group began in 2008, with funding backing from the Zhejiang Yiwu Commercial Investment Group.
"The project will need 58 billion yuan in investment, for a planned area of about 1,200 hectares, and floor space of 19 million square meters," explained Liu Weigao, chairman of Yunnan Zhonghao.
When it is completed, more than 50,000 merchants are expected to be doing business there, providing as many as 600,000 jobs, Liu added.
"It will be an immense international wholesale market with influence all over the province, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and even beyond. It will also embrace an industrial chain dealing with manufacturing, trade, warehousing, logistics and e-business," Liu said.
Luosiwan already has more than 30,000 traders, and is visited by at least 300,000 businesspeople daily, from China's eastern and southeastern coasts, and regions to the west, as well as ASEAN countries.
(China Daily 07/05/2011 page24)