REGIONAL> Development
Sixth Wuhan-Hubei-Taiwan Week launched
By Zhou Lihua (China Daily Hubei Bureau)
Updated: 2009-05-15 15:53

On one side is the beautiful Sun Moon Lake, and on the other is the majestic Yellow Crane Tower, making for a beautiful backdrop for the sixth Wuhan-Hubei-Taiwan Week, which opened in Wuhan on May 8. Li Jinhua, vice chairman of the CPPCC, attended the opening ceremony and announced the opening of the special week.

Also attending the ceremony were Wang Yi, from the Taiwan Affairs Office of the CPC Central Committee and Office Director of the State Council of Taiwan Affairs, Chen Yunlin, chairman of ARATS, Luo Qingquan, secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, and Li Hongzhong, governor of Hubei province. Vice secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and secretary of the municipal committee of the CPC, Yang Song, hosted the ceremony.

The opening ceremony was followed by a project-signing ceremony, where both sides signed a total of 23 projects worth 5,350 million yuan. The contracts involve electronic machine manufacturing, agricultural development, and circulation of general merchandise and tourist services. For instance, Trans-Asia Airways and the Hubei Airport Group signed an agreement in July this year before the opening of Taiwan's non-stop routes to Wuhan, Taiwan businessmen will invest 1.2 billion yuan in Wuhan's East-West Lake District for the production of computer accessories and 1.5 billion yuan to build the largest wholesale flower market in Wuhan.

It is estimated that at least 59 projects will be signed during the week with a total investment of 9.834 billion yuan, which will be the largest number of projects and the largest amount signed between Hubei and Taiwan in the last six years.

Largest Taiwan-funded industrial area built in Wuhan

Union Group, the first Taiwan enterprise, came to Wuhan in 1989. In the early 1990s, more than 100 leading companies, including Taisuo, Yuandong, darong, Shilin Motor, etc., were set up in Dongxihu District, Wuhan. Inspired by the surge in businesses, the district built the Wujiashan Taiwan Industrial Area in 1992. Currently, there are 872 Taiwan-funded companies.

The industrial area has seen three breakthroughs, from the district, municipal and national levels. Dongxihu District, with a total area of 500 square kilometers, has had the highest local fiscal revenue per capita of all districts in Hubei province for 9 years.

Such great benefits have inspired the Hubei provincial government to set a greater goal. “Based on the Wujiashan Taiwan industrial area, we will build the biggest Taiwan-funded industrial area in Central China to be the fifth one in China,” according to an area spokesman in 2008. Before that, the Taiwan-funded industrial areas were in Fujian province, Shenzhen, Shanghai and the surrounding areas of Bohai

With coordinated promotion from the provincial and municipal governments and helpful services of the municipal governments, the Central China Service Center of the National Taiwan Corporation Association is determined to explore the entire Wujiashan Taiwan industrial area. As the only organization in China, it will become an important service platform for communication, co-ordination and transit after completion. Undoubtedly, there will be greater opportunities for Taiwan companies to take root. In addition, Wuhan opened the Wujiashan Bonded Logistics area last year, which has made Wuhan more competitive, providing equal benefits with the coastal areas to do import and export business.

Reports indicate the Dongxihu district is carefully completing the plan. A higher starting point has been determined for the Taiwan industrial area with 22 square kilometers and the Taiwan business areas with 7 kilometers. The populated business area is set to attract companies that rank in the first 100 in the island and well-known home and foreign ones, according to the business plan. Industry positioning is based on the principle of three keys and three main industries: Taiwan industry and fund, high technology, and well-known companies (the keys) and electronic information, mechanical manufacturing, and health industries (the main industries). By 2015, this area is expected to produce an output value of 40-50 billion yuan and tax of 1.5 to 2 billion yuan.

Experts: Central China one of the most important economic development areas

"Two sides hand in hand to overcome the financial crisis" was the theme of the ceremony as experts from both sides exchanged their thoughts and advice on the development of Hubei and Taiwan's economic and trade cooperation on May 9. Participants from the Taiwan industrial, commercial and business circles have gained confidence on investment in central and western regions in the mainland.

"Hubei should strive for one tenth of the amount of Taiwan investment," said Yu Keli, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Taiwan Studies. Central China is gradually exposing its advantages on economic resources and location and will be the next wave of China's economic development. Central China should aim to attract one fifth of the total investment, and Hubei province can get one-tenth of the target. That is to say, if Taiwan were to invest 10 billion dollars to the mainland in the coming year, the central regions would attract two billion, and a half of that should be invested in Hubei.

Dr. Ding Kunhua, supervisor of the Taiwan Compatriots Investment Enterprises Association, recently disclosed a set of figures: Taiwan Investment in Hubei was ranked ninth of all mainland cities in 2008, and in the first two months of this year; Taiwan Investment in Hubei compared year-on-year has increased by 92%.

Luo Huaijia, vice-general secretary of the Taiwan area electrical machinery electronics industry trade association, said, that due to the financial crisis, Taiwan's high tech industry has also faced an enormous impact. “Statistics show that Taiwan accounts for 46% of investment in the electrical machinery electron class in the mainland, which has the biggest proportion of various professions. The strong science and technology resources and talent reserves in Wuhan are a favorite with Taiwan investors.”

Combining Taiwan's superiority of production and talented people from the mainland, the two sides will cooperate for mutual benefit. “It will be win-win,” said Luo. “Complying with the world energy conservation environmental protection tendency, Hubei and Taiwan will expand green electron and the energy technology to promote the electro-optic industrial development,” he added.

Jiang Xiaoyan: Wuhan will be "as great as New York"

Taiwan Kuomintang vice president Jiang Xiaoyan made his third visit to Wuhan on May 9, sparking the vice secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and secretary of the municipal committee of the CPC, Yang Song, to make the following comment after meeting him: "I hope Mr. Jiang will take Wuhan as his hometown."

Jiang met with people from all walks of life, repeatedly discussing the great significance of non-stop flights between the two areas. “I took the flight at Taipei Taoyuan Airport at 11:30 am and at 2:00 pm I had already arrived at Wuhan Tianhe Airport. It was a very pleasant and convenient trip. The cross-strait relations have been improved, which demands a lot of wisdom and patience to make the curved route a straight one,” Jiang said.

"Wuhan is full of potential. In the first quarter of this year, Hubei and Wuhan's economic growth rate were 10.2 and 9.5 respectively, and this is very attractive to Taiwan's businessmen,” added Jiang.

Jiang stressed that any future plans of Wuhan must have a scale as great as New York and London, which was also mentioned by Sun Zhongshan in "Nation Building Program". "This is Mr. Sun Zhongshan's expectation towards Wuhan. I trust Wuhan and I am looking forward to that day, too," Jiang said.