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Home » City specials » Chengdu

City’s heavyweight events point to a growing impact on the world

Abundant business opportunities in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province and a poster city of China’s “Go West” policy, attracted world attention when it was chosen to host the 12th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention, which opens today, after the city successfully ran the Global Fortune Forum in June.

It is rare for a city to hold such heavy-weight events in so short a time, and it reflects Chengdu’s growing impact on business communities around the world.

“The convention provides a significant opportunity for the modernization and internationalization of Chengdu and Sichuan Province,” said Fu Yonglin, deputy mayor of Chengdu.

“It also functions as a platform for overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to participate in China’s western development and helps to enhance the exchange and cooperation between Chengdu and overseas Chinese organizations and enterprises,” Fu said.

Ren Qiliang, vice director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and office director of the 12th WCEC organizing committee, said: “It’s a natural outcome for China to host this year’s convention as China’s economy has been maintaining a favorable growth against the backdrop of global economic slowdown since the 2008 financial crisis.”

GDP expands 10.3%

Overseas Chinese are seeking growth opportunities during a global economic downturn, and fortune, indeed, has smiled on Chengdu. In the first half, the city’s gross domestic product expanded 10.3 percent from a year earlier to 440.8 billion yuan (US$71 billion), according to the Chengdu Statistics Bureau. That exceeded GDP growth of 7.6 percent nationwide and 10.1 percent in Sichuan Province.

“Driven by China’s ‘Go West’ strategy, the economic potential and cultural uniqueness of Sichuan province have been attracting more overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to invest here,” said Zhou Minqian,  director of the province’s Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

Currently, more than 60 percent of foreign companies in Sichuan are funded by overseas Chinese entrepreneurs, Zhou said. “Investments by overseas Chinese entrepreneurs used to focus on sectors such as real estate, manufacturing, commerce and finance, and agriculture and husbandry, while strategic emerging industries including bio-pharmaceuticals, new materials and new energy are becoming new investment hot spots for overseas Chinese merchants.”

Xue Shuihe, board chairman of Chengdu Huirong Group, was among the first overseas Chinese to run a business in Chengdu.

“The place is full of surprises,” said Xue, an Australian Chinese who has been in Chengdu for 18 years and whose business now ranges from food to real estate development.

The Chengdu government said the biennial convention, being held in the Chinese mainland for the second time, offers opportunities to let some high-tech projects take roots in the city and the province, and is also viewed as a key component of the state-level policy to develop China’s west.

So far, 54 projects worth 36 billion yuan are expected to be sealed during the convention, officials said.

Corporations set up by overseas Chinese have already been the main body of private enterprises in Sichuan, authorities said.

Yang Gang, board chairman of the Chengdu Chiffo Group, said business opportunities lie in the talks with overseas entrepreneurs keen to enter Chengdu markets.

Meanwhile, many overseas Chinese businessmen view Chengdu as an ideal foothold to further invest in China’s underdeveloped western areas.

“Overseas corporations came to the place more for its relative low costs in the past few years, while now they come to eye more on China’s west and pursue market share,” said Wang Xiaodong, director with the American Chamber of Commerce South West China.

Where the potential is

In addition to traditional overseas Chinese companies, about 20,000 to 30,000 overseas Chinese chose to locate their start-ups in Chengdu, officials said.

“Chengdu is among the fastest-growing cities in China,” said Shi Lei, an economics professor at Fudan University. “Cities in western China are resilient in terms of growth momentum and are becoming the country’s growth engines as they have the potential which is increasingly hard to be found in coastal cities.”

The national government, since 1999, has adopted sweeping initiatives to push economic development from the wealthy eastern coast inland and to western areas. In the past decade when coastal cities saw slowing growth, Chengdu developed a string of strategic industries to become leaders in sectors such as information technology and automobiles.

Chengdu’s growth in the first half was led by a 14.1 percent expansion of its manufacturing sector amid advances in information technology, aerospace, solar panels, biomedicine, green technologies, advanced industrial materials and automobiles.

Chengdu’s output of vehicles more than doubled in the January-June period, the fastest among major industries in the city, thanks to buoyant demand in inland China. Information technology expanded 20 percent, the result of more investment from industry giants such as Intel, Dell, Lenovo and Texas Instruments.

Now more than 20 percent of the world’s computers are produced in Chengdu, more than 50 percent of the laptop chips are tested in Chengdu, and more than 70 percent of the world’s iPads are rolling off production lines in Chengdu.

Of all provincial capitals, Chengdu’s municipal manufacturing sector was the second strongest in terms of growth rate, the city’s statistics bureau said.

The resilience of the city’s economy came against the backdrop of weaker growth nationwide. National GDP slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter from 7.7 percent in the previous one.

Topics of Special Forums

• Development Opportunities for China’s Urbanization Strategy

• Opportunities and Challenges for Multinational Corporations Run by Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs

• Opportunities and Challenges for Overseas Chinese Entrepreneur Talents Eyeing for Business Start-up in the Chinese Mainland

• Investors Rights Protection for Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs

• Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs and Chinese Culture

• Private Companies’ Tie-up with Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs for Going Abroad

• Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs and Social Welfare Business

• Development of International Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Organizations

• Family Business

• Establishment of New Images for Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs

• Island Country Development

• Well Established Brands by Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs

• New Frontiers for Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs along with China’s Going West Policy

• The Younger Generations of Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs

• Global Outsourcing Innovation Summit

Global contributions

Chinese people have a long history of migrating overseas and almost every country in the world now has people of Chinese origin who are contributing to the economic and social development of the nations  where they have settled.

After China opened up in the late 70s, even more Chinese went overseas to make new lives for themselves in other lands, impressing their new neighbors with their hard work and entrepreneurial skills.

Overseas Chinese also set up many regional friendship associations.

In 1990, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry initiated the first World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention along with units in Hong Kong and Thailand. The convention is an international non-official event to facilitate trade and economic cooperation.

The convention has been held for 11 sessions in various countries since the first meeting in Singapore in 1991.

It is a grand event for global Chinese businesses, and has a strong influence among overseas Chinese.

The World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention was first held on China’s mainland in Nanjing in 2001, gathering Chinese from 77 countries and regions.



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