Tag Archives: China-South Asia Expo

Kunming’s China-South Asia Expo Balloons to Enormous Proportions

9325

When the Spring City throws a trade and investment party, everyone comes. That is the lesson gleaned following closing ceremonies held yesterday at the twenty-third annual Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair and third annual China-South Asia Expo. Expected to generate billions in business agreements and attract hundreds of thousands of curious attendees, the twin events did not disappoint.

The expos are held each year with the intention of attracting greater foreign business interest and interaction with Yunnan-based companies. This principal goal is part of a larger strategy to build up the province’s economy while also increasing China’s political and commercial footprint in Southeast Asia and beyond.

In terms of sheer numbers, these goals are being realized. Contracts signed during the course of the fairs totaled 785 billion yuan (US$127 billion) in direct foreign investment — a catchall term including money put toward virtually any business acquisition or other commitment. At last year’s expo opening ceremony, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang (汪洋) said he expected the next few years to be “the most active and fruitful period yet” for cooperation between Yunnan, Association of Southeast Asian Nations member-countries and South Asia. He appears to have been correct.

The numbers for direct foreign investment in Yunnan dwarfed those concerned with Chinese ventures in other countries, which reached 155 billion yuan (US$25 billion). In total, 903 overseas firms inked deals to begin or expand existing businesses in the province. The largest of these involved the fields of tourism, energy and infrastructure development, logistics, education, and environmental protection.

9329

Highlighting Yunnan’s growing importance as a trade and investment hub, 20,000 businesspeople as well as dignitaries from 31 countries attended. Among the most notable were Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (李源潮), the president of the Maldives, Laos’ prime minister and high-ranking representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

India’s Minister of State External Affairs, VK Singh, also attended. He represented the expo’s feature country, a place of honor this year replete with a dedicated “museum” devoted not only to the Subcontinent’s most advanced industries, but also its history and culture. At a separate event held during the expo, Singh officially opened China’s first yoga college at the Yunnan University of Nationalities campus in Chenggong.

9326
Giving India such recognition was no random decision, but instead a calculated diplomatic move aimed at encouraging the world’s second most populous country to embrace China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The brainchild of President Xi Jinping, the proposal looks to propel regional integration between China and the countries of Central and South Asia, India chief among them.

While enormous deals and industry-specific conferences were carried out behind closed doors, the general public tuned out in droves to this year’s expos. In preparation, organizers printed half a million tickets. It did not prove to be enough, as 740,000 attendees passed through the gates at the Kunming Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center, shattering last year’s attendance numbers by 500,000.

An exhibitor from Taiwan, surnamed Li, told reporters she had signed deals to sell dried fish to Carrefour, Parkson and Golden Eagle while at the expo. She, like many other exhibitors, ran out of things to sell two days before the expo concluded. “Everyone has been so friendly and warm,” Li said, “I hope to see them all again next year.”

This article, written by Patrick Scally with images by Yereth Jansen, was first posted here on Gokunming.com.

Leave a Comment

Filed under China, Current Events, Economic development, Foreign policy, GMS, SLIDER, Yunnan Province

A Day at the Fair: Impressions from the China-South Asia Expo

IMG_6432

After much excitement on the part of merchants and nervous anticipation on the part of the local authorities, Kunming’s 1st Annual China-South Asia Expo came to a close on Monday. By all accounts the Expo was a great success and went off without a hitch. Fellow ExSE blogger Brian Eyler and I both attended the trade expo on Monday afternoon; the following is a record of our visit.

Monday was not only our most ideal time to attend the Expo, but it also was perfect for most other Kunmingers as they had the day off in honor of Dragon Boat Festival. Therefore, the lines were long and pavilions packed, and it took us more than 45 minutes to finally enter the Expo itself. Our first stop was the Main Hall, where the opening ceremonies were held. Flags from every country represented at the Expo and throngs of visitors taking a rest on the floor. A looped video promoting China-South Asia ties was playing in English with Chinese subtitles. However the English was worded awkwardly and sounded like it was copied directly from Google Translate. Both Brian and I agreed that future consideration towards the translation of materials might make a better impression on international visitors to the Expo given English is designated as the normative language communication between China and South Asia.  In the Main Hall we were stopped by a friendly group of local Expo volunteers who wanted us to be part of their souvenir photo collection. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under ASEAN, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Culture, Current Events, Laos, Myanmar/Burma, Yunnan Province

What’s at Stake for the China-South Asia Expo?

expo

The China-South Asia Expo opened without a hitch yesterday in Kunming despite online calls for a continuation of environmental protests outside of the Expo’s opening ceremony site.  It seems protesters decided to stay home due to a combination of sticks and carrots offered by local authorities.  On June 3, Kunming’s mayor announced the release of key environmental impact assessment data concerning the construction of a PetroChina oil refinery and PX chemical plant side project scheduled for construction 40 km from the city’s downtown area.  Also, the excessive presence of armed and unarmed public security officers lining the city’s streets and manning the Expo site also likely turned protesters away.

What is the rationale behind the excessive security measures?  What’s really at stake at the 1st China-South Asia Expo?

The Expo, a combination trade fair and high level forum for investment and trade promotion discussions between China, Southeast Asia, and now South Asia, is part of China’s Bridgehead Construction strategy to establish Kunming and Yunnan province as a gateway between China and its neighbors to the south and west.  A smoothly running Expo not only will seal multilateral agreements and high-value business deals that will streamline regional trade and investment, but it will also guarantee the continuation of soft-budget infrastructure development projects sponsored by Beijing to Kunming and Yunnan province that are part and parcel of the “Bridgehead” strategy.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under China, Current Events, Economic development, Energy, Environment and sustainability, Foreign policy, GMS, Laos, Myanmar/Burma, Vietnam

China’s media report on Kunming’s environmental protests

The English language discussion of Kunming’s ongoing environmental protests should not exclude China’s official media reports.  The translation below is of a 5/28 article from the Southern Weekend website.

Yunnan’s Anning City Retracts Notice on Face Mask Registration

from Southern Weekend (南方周末)May 28, 2013

More than 200 copies of a ‘Letter of Guarantee’ have been signed by vendors of advertising services, printing services, copy services, face masks, and t-shirts.  These vendors promise to strictly follow national laws and regulations regarding their commercial business and promise not to speak of rumors, create rumors, or spread rumors.  They promise not to participate in any form of information broadcasting, forwarding of messages, and not to participate in sit-ins, protests, or demonstrations of any kind.  They promise to not print, create, or publish things related to the Anning PetroChina Oil Refinery or the “China-South Asia “Expo or advertisements, propaganda materials, or any materials of negative influence.  This “Letter of Guarantee” goes into effect on the day of signing and is valid through June 30, 2013 and sales of all services above must also be accompanied by ID registration of the purchaser.  –Official statement from the Kunming Economic Development Zone Industry and Commerce Bureau. 

The exposure of Anning’s required ID registration of face mask purchases has stirred up considerable public debate.  On the evening of 5/25, the Anning City government’s press office issued a statement saying Anning’s Industry and Commerce Bureau will retract the notice on face mask registration.  But according to a report on 5/27, the “Procedure for registration of face mask purchases” was still in effect for much of the Kunming municipality and was not exclusive to Anning City.  Registration is still required for printing, copying, and publication services. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under China, Current Events, Economic development, Energy, Environment and sustainability, Governance