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Shantou's economic zone welcomes overseas Chinese investments


04-16-2017 14:31 BJT

Full coverage: Belt and Road Forum for Int'l Cooperation

(Source: CGTN)

There are an estimated 60 million people of Chinese descent living outside of China. Our reporter Yang Chengxi travelled to Guangdong Province, hometown for a large proportion of overseas Chinese, to see how the province has set up a special district to attract investments from overseas Chinese.

If you look at the quintessential image of overseas Chinese in contemporary popular culture, chances are they are Cantonese. China’s Guangdong province is the hometown to a large number of overseas Chinese. In Shantou city, you can find relics of their ties to home.

In the early 20th century, many Chinese from here were working in Southeast Asia but there wasn’t an effect way to wire their money back home. So they relied on unofficial, civilian organizations to manually bring their hard-earned cash back to China, along with a letter for their loved ones.

Those days are long gone. Overseas Chinese founded the Bangkok Bank in Thailand, Overseas Union Bank in Singapore and the Public Bank in Malaysia. They are also proactive in investing in their home country. Shantou city now has 5600 investment projects from overseas Chinese, accounting for 94 percent of all foreign investments into the city. In 2014, officials have set up a 480 square-kilometer Overseas Chinese Economic and Cultural Cooperation Zone.

“Overseas Chinese have an advantage in understanding the language and culture of overseas societies, and they also know Shantou’s policies. I believe they will do a great job of investing here,” said Li Zhao, Vice President, Overseas Chinese Economic & Cultural Coop. Experimental Zone.

Li said the zone wants to attract companies in sectors such as tourism, education, healthcare and finance. Qualified businesses are welcomed to enjoy a wide range of resources provided by the zone, including a regional equity exchange called the Overseas Chinese Board, which listed 458 companies currently.

“Through the Overseas Chinese Board, we raised 5 million yuan. That allowed us to grow and successfully upgrade to the New Third Board last year,” said Lin Haiyi, Partner, Wingoo Anime Foods Corp.

The zone was growing by 8.7 percent year on year in 2016. City officials want this number to be much higher by designing more favorable policies. They hope Shantou city would mean not just a hometown, but also a business opportunity for more overseas Chinese.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a grand national strategy. While it is supported by the public sector and state-owned companies, the country’s private firms are responding to this government strategy by fine tuning their international development game plans.

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