Hefei fair to boost growth of central provinces

By Zheng Yiran and Jing Shuiyu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-26 09:58

China's central provinces are expected to attract more foreign investment at the 10th Central China Investment and Trade Exposition, which will be held in Hefei, Anhui province, and aims to strengthen new drivers for regional economic development, officials said on Tuesday.

In the first quarter of the year, foreign investment flowing to the region-mainly Hunan, Henan, Hubei, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces-increased by 1 percent year-on-year, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said at a news conference in Beijing.

"The growth rate equals the national average," Wang said.

Central China has unique advantages in absorbing foreign capital, thanks to the region's geographical location, abundant labor force and supportive polices, he said.

Expo Central China 2017, which will be held in Hefei from May 17 to 19, will host a wide range of seminars on e-commerce, tourism and medical care, Wang said.

So far, the exposition, themed "New Concept of Development, New Opportunity for Rise", has invited more than 2,400 policymakers and businessmen, including overseas political leaders, and executives from multinational firms, State-owned enterprises and privately run enterprises, said Zhang Shuguang, vice-governor of Anhui, at the conference.

"They will have in-depth discussions with local authorities and entrepreneurs, and will promote cooperation in terms of capital, skills and talent," Zhang said.

China attracted 226.5 billion yuan ($32.91 billion) in foreign capital in the first three months, up 1 percent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

It also said that foreign direct investment from high-tech enterprises rose 12.4 percent year-on-year to 28.69 billion yuan.

Hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, the annual Expo Central China aims to build a platform for global investment and trade exchange, and get the nation's central regions more involved in international trade.

The provinces need to ramp up efforts to optimize their trade structure and diversify their export markets, said Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Economies along the Belt and Road Initiative will continue to serve as strong growth engines for local economic growth, he added.

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