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Foreign companies step into China's water service sector
( 2003-09-25 22:45) (Xinhua)

The renowned German water service provider Berlinwasser International AG signed a water-service agreement with Jinan Municipal government in Beijing on Thursday.

It was another critical step for Berlinwasser to step into China's municipal water service market, said sources at the on- going national seminar for privatization of municipal works in Beijing.

The complete opening of this once monopolized market brings enormous opportunities to overseas investors, said Dieter Ernst, President of Berlinwasser International AG.

Since entry into China in 1998, Berlinwasser has built a water supply plant in Xi'an and a sewage treatment plant in Nanchang. To date, its investment in China has totaled 80 million euros.

China's demand for municipal water service is huge due to its population and rapid urbanization, said Ernst.

China has become an important market in the Asian-Pacific area for Berlinwasser.

Like Berlinwasser, Veolia Water, the largest water service provider in the world, also focuses on the Chinese market.

The French water giant has just started a new water supply project in northwest China's Baoji City, following its expansion of water service in other Chinese cities like Tianjin, Shanghai, Chengdu and Zhuhai.

Regis Calmels, vice general manager of Veolia Water and also the manager director of Veolia Water Asia-Pacific, told the seminar that China's great demand for water service has shown them the future target of Veolia Water's global strategy.

Statistics show that China's current urban water supply capacity has reached 210 million cubic meters a day, and by 2005, China will increase its water supply capacity by 40 million cubic meters a day.

China's sewage water treatment industry has also entered a new stage of fast expansion, which will produce more business opportunities for domestic and overseas investors.

Experts said that as China still lacks cross-regional large- scale water service companies, foreign water service providers will become strong competitors in China's water service market.

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