Love and trade across the Silk Road
Updated: 2015-09-28 12:10
By Jiang Wei(chinadaily.com.cn)
Two months later, the international freight train named the Chang'an started operations in Xi'an. With 44 destinations across Central Asia, it takes the train six days to cover its entire 3,860-kilometer length, helping cut the transportation cost by 20 percent. Besides, each train can get a subsidy of 600,000 yuan from the Shaanxi provincial government and Xi'an municipal government. Xi'an International Trade & Logistics Park also gives multiple preferential policies for e-commerce companies, such as office rent subsidy, logistics subsidy and subsidy for taking part in exhibitions abroad.
The initiative and policies came just in time for Yuan and Anita. They felt that building a bridge between China and Kazakhstan is not far away. Yuan believed that the Chinese goods exhibition store should be expanded. Anita, proud of her country's agricultural products, food and handmade crafts, suggested that they should build a Kazakhstan products exhibition hall in Xi'an. In this way, more Chinese products can enter the Kazakhstan market and Kazakhstan products can come to China.
Bearing the common goal in mind, they began to take action, making use of their resources -- Yuan's position as the vice chairman of the Inner Mongolia chamber of commerce in Shaanxi and Anita with the help of her relatives and friends back in Karaganda.
Anita gives local information to a Shaanxi delegation in Kazakhstan. (Photo provided to China Daily)
In 2014, the Inner Mongolia chamber of commerce in Shaanxi set up an office in Karaganda, providing services for chamber members who invest in Kazakhstan. The chamber of commerce of the Republic of Kazakhstan entrepreneurs also set up an office at Xi'an International Logistics Park, helping Kazakhstan entrepreneurs doing business in Shaanxi.
In January 2015, Xi'an Silk Road E-commerce Co., Ltd was established at Xi'an International Logistics Park, Yuan being the executive director and Anita the consultant. The company is a one-stop solution provider, providing services such as cross-border investment investigation, consultant services, and business negotiation; cross-border market development and sales network set-up; as well as cross-border exhibition, product introduction and purchasing.
It aims to become a cross-border Online-to-Offline E-commerce platform, helping Chinese companies to go out and foreign companies along the Belt & Road Initiative to enter China.
Online, the company has two websites, offering political, economic and policy information in China and Kazakhstan. Offline, it has a Chinese products exhibition center in Karaganda, a Kazakhstan products exhibition center in Xi'an and an Industrial Incubator in Karaganda which provides a production base for Chinese companies investing in Kazakhstan.
"It's true that Anita's family's government background makes it easy to get things done. But the smooth running of the programs is due to the current favorable political and economic environment," Yuan said. "Under China's Belt & Road Initiative and Kazakhstan's new economic policy of Bright Road, governments, companies and related institutions of both sides have been very cooperative."
On September 25, Xi'an signed a memorandum of cooperation with Karaganda at the Roundtable among cities along the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is an important part of the 2015 Asia-Europe Economic Forum.
Right now, more than 100 companies have entered the Chinese products exhibition center in Karaganda, and three companies have expressed their intention to establish factories in Karaganda, including Xi'an Aiju Grain and Oil Industry Group Co., Ltd, a time-honored food enterprise. Dozens of companies have entered the Kazakhstan products exhibition center in Xi'an.
Yuan is very optimistic about his business with Kazakhstan companies. "It used to rely on petroleum, but Kazakhstan is undergoing industrial restructuring. Now, many local products need to enter overseas markets and China's huge market is alluring," Yuan said. "I'll always remember the day when I spoke at a conference organized by Karaganda's association of industry and commerce. I briefed Kazakhstan entrepreneurs about China's market, e-commerce platform and the Kazakhstan products exhibition center in Xi'an first, then I mentioned that Taobao, the popular Chinese online shopping website, has 600 million registered users, 80 million daily visits and one trillion turnover a year, the audience went crazy. "
Facing a population of less than 18 million at home, Kazakhstan companies are keen to get a bite of China's huge market. One businessman said excitedly to Yuan, "If I can sell one candy bar to every Chinese, I'll be a millionaire." Yuan believed that it's not a dream, because the international freight train Chang'an is here to cut logistics costs and his company is a bridge to facilitate trade.
Yuan and Anita got married last year. Yuan said that it's love that inspired him to start this career and it's the Belt & Road Initiative that made this career possible. He plans to establish Chinese product exhibition centers along the Silk Road, facilitating trade between China and foreign countries. Thanks to the Belt & Road Initiative, the future looks bright for Yuan in both love and career.