Fair builds tech ties across borders

Updated: 2013-11-19 07:49

By Lin Jing and Chen Hong (China Daily)

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Hungary, Germany among nations that inked deals

A delegation from Hungary signed memorandums of understanding to invest a total of 2 billion yuan ($328 million) in cooperative projects with companies based in Shenzhen at the China High-Tech Fair on Nov 18.

A green theme characterizes many of the projects, including a base for research on energy efficiency and other environmental technologies, a manufacturing and research center for bio-diesel and a technological partnership on water resource management and environmental protection.

The projects will attract advanced industries from Hungary, including environmental protection, renewable energy and water resource management, further strengthening high-tech exchanges between the two countries, according to Invest Shenzhen, the city's official investment promotion agency and the entity responsible for orchestrating this international partnership.

Fair builds tech ties across borders

A New Zealand booth is crowded with visitors. Lin Jing / China Daily

Fair builds tech ties across borders

National flags are hanging over the foreign exhibition area at the ongoing China High-Tech Fair, which will close on Thursday. Chen Hong / China Daily

Kovacs Laszlo, chairman of the Hungarian Environmental Protection Association, said: "Shenzhen poses a big opportunity for us, given that the local government attaches great importance to environmental protection."

"The industries in Hungary are very willing to work with our counterparts in Shenzhen to help the city win recognition as an environmental protection leader in China," he said.

Held from Nov 16 to 21 every year in Shenzhen, the China High-Tech Fair has grown into an attractive venue for foreign companies to find Chinese partners and explore business opportunities in the technology industry.

According to the organizing committee of the event, 29 delegations from 20 countries, including the United States, Russia, Australia, Canada, France and the United Kingdom, have organized exhibitions at the 15th fair this year.

The number of foreign delegations and their exhibition areas both doubled that of last year, according to the organizing committee.

"We have attended this event for many years," Michel Gerebtzoff, commercial consul at the Consulate-General of Belgium in Guangzhou.

"Shenzhen is now one of the high-tech hubs in China," said Gerebtzoff, adding that it is a good opportunity for Belgian companies to meet partners.

He said Belgium is interested in cooperation in such sectors as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, green tech and logistics, which are also the country's strong industries.

He said the consulate normally comes here to build connections for its companies, and after that those companies will follow up with specific projects.

To date, about 60 companies from Belgium have established operations in Shenzhen, and he said there are some new companies coming to build factories in the neighboring city of Guangzhou.

He said Belgium is one of the first countries that came to China 30 years ago to start business cooperation with the country, and has maintained good bilateral relations since then.

"We feel that the fair this year is dynamic and presents a good mix of international and local firms. It is very positive," he said, adding that he wants to make as many contacts as possible.

Huge potential

When asked why they have chosen to establish operations in Shenzhen, the major reasons foreign high-tech companies cite are the city's huge potential and manufacturing experience as well as the low cost of doing business there.

"The New Zealand market is too small, and the costs of production are too high. But China is a huge market with large potential," said William Pryde, marketing manager with PowerbyProxi, a company specializing in wireless charging solutions from New Zealand.

The company has developed a charging pad and a special module that allows the batteries in smart devices and other electronics to be recharged wirelessly.

Pryde says that they are looking for business partners in Shenzhen that have experience in manufacturing similar devices.

Shenzhen's sister city since 1997, Nuremberg from Germany has attended the fair since the very beginning.

Doris Schneider, an officer for international economic affairs at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Nuremberg and Central Franconia, said that about 30 companies came with the city delegation to Shenzhen, which is three times the number that attended last year.

She said that every year, the delegation will bring at least 10 to 15 companies to the fair.

"There are more companies interested in the Chinese market, especially in Shenzhen," Schneider said.

Most of the companies are manufacturers of industrial equipment for medicine and other high-tech sectors.

"Three companies found Chinese partners here during last year's event. It was very encouraging," she said.

"The (fair) is a good way to introduce us to new partners because companies from all over China will come here for business."

Meanwhile, Shenzhen companies are also active in promoting their brands, technologies and infrastructure to attract foreign buyers and investors during the fair.

The Shenzhen Investment Holdings Co introduced six of its major high-tech innovation centers, including a software development facility, a biotechnology park, an innovation park for biomedicines and a technological center serving Chinese and overseas companies.

According to the company's deputy general manager Wang Huaben, the six projects, which will be put into operation starting at the end of this year, will have floor space totaling 2.4 million sq m.

They include not only R&D facilities, offices and factories but also supporting facilities such as apartments, dormitories and hotels to better serve the high-tech companies there.

Contact the writers through linjingcd@chinadaily.com.cn and chenhong@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 11/19/2013 page15)