Friendship key to business growth

By Zhuan Ti | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2017-07-28 08:51

Hanyang's zhiyin tradition the foundation for creative businesses and global ties

Hanyang, one of the 13 districts in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province, is taking steps to promote its industrial upgrade and zhiyin (friendship) cultural to support the region's long-term development.

The region, with more than 2,000 years of history, is home to the famous Hanyang Iron Plant, built by Zhang Zhidong, governor of Hubei and Hunan provinces in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Hanyang Iron Plant was the first and one of the largest iron and steel manufacturing plants in Asia in the 1890s. Therefore, Hanyang is said to be the birthplace of China's modern manufacturing industry. The concept of made in Hanyang has remained strong and expanded since the factory's establishment.

 Friendship key to business growth

Hanyang district in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, dates back more than 2,000 years. Provided to China Daily

 Friendship key to business growth

Hanyang Iron Plant (above) was the fi rst iron and steel manufacturing plant in Asia in the 1890s. A foreign student (above right) experiences movable type printing in the Hanyang Cultural and Creative Industry Park.

The district has served as one of China's manufacturing hubs since 1949. Industries such as textiles have achieved outstanding progress in that time, according to local authorities.

Wuhan Parrot Tape Factory's recording tapes were used on China's first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, in 1970.

In recent years, the Hanyang government has been making efforts to integrate the concept of modern fashion with the old factories in the region, aiming to stimulate creativity.

The Hanyang Cultural and Creative Industry Park, launched in 2009, successfully transformed Hanyang from a manufacturing hub into a national creativity hub.

The park, covering about 42,000 square meters, is a gathering place for more than 170 creative businesses involved in areas such as advertising, new media, filmmaking and design. The output value of the park reached 1.5 billion yuan ($221.4 million) in 2016.

Supported by internet technologies, the park has developed many public service platforms to attract professionals and leading businesses to the region, such as an advertisement culture demonstration center and a new media technology support center.

In addition to building a modern industrial park, Hanyang has created a museum to raise awareness of the area's historical manufacturing industry.

Friendship key to business growth

The Zhang Zhidong and Hanyang Iron Plant Museum, situated near the former site of the old plant, has been built to demonstrate the area's industrial achievements.

A representative from the museum said that Hanyang's industrial development could not have been achieved without support from foreign friends. Over 40 foreign experts from Belgium and Luxembourg supported the Hanyang Iron Plant's development 127 years ago.

Photos showing Luxembourg's efforts to support the plant's development are displayed in the museum.

Promoting Ancient Legend

The word zhiyin, which means 'intimate friends' in Mandarin, comes from the legend of Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), who are known best by their given names in China. Boya was good at playing the guqin, a seven-stringed instrument similar to a zither. Ziqi, a woodcutter, could understand exactly what Boya wanted to express through his music. The two maintained a long-lasting friendship. Boya broke his guqin after he heard that Ziqi has died and never played the instrument again.

People in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) built the Guqin Terrace, or Heptachord Terrace, in Hanyang to remember the deep friendship between Boya and Ziqi, which formed a foundation for the local culture.

The famous ancient Chinese classical music piece, Gaoshan Liushui, also known as High Mountain and Flowing Water, was developed based on this legend.

Gaoshan Liushui was performed during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on September 4, 2016. The musical performance won praise from global guests because it not only demonstrated the beauty of traditional Chinese culture, but also expressed China's willingness to strengthen its friendship with people from around the world.

The music, seen as a symbol of the Chinese attitude toward finding and maintaining true friendship, was part of the cultural collection sent into space on the United States' Voyager 1 in 1977.

Zhiyin culture has been promoted in Wuhan's sister cities such as France's Bordeaux and Japan's Oita. Today, zhiyin culture promotional activities in Hanyang aim to attract global friends to the region. The legend of Boya and Ziqi is performed in Wuhan's Qintai Grand Theater every day. Zhiyin Cruise's entertainment program is designed to help visitors learn more about Wuhan's history and progress through performances. The company obtained the name from the legend.

Regional Improvements

Hanyang has reported significant breakthroughs in its infrastructure upgrade over the past few years. Its metro line systems went into operation in 2014. Construction of an under-river tunnel has accelerated in order to better connect the district with other areas in Wuhan.

Many Fortune 500-listed companies, including Renault, have launched branches in Hanyang. The local authorities said global professionals and businesses are welcome to the area.

"Everyone who comes to Hanyang is our zhiyin," said Guo Xiaozhuan, director of the communication department of Hanyang.

Guo said Wuhan has attracted great attention amid China's Belt and Road Initiative, and the Yangtze River Economic Belt and Rise of Central China strategies. Wuhan is also home to many significant reform pilot zones, such as the comprehensive innovation reform pilot zone.

"I hope more businesses and professionals can come to support Hanyang's development, because the region is reaching its best development period," Guo said.

Cultural industries central to area's development

The government of Hanyang district of Wuhan, Hubei province, said it will strengthen its commitment to cultural industries to maintain sustainable development.

"Hanyang has maintained a strong position in the cultural industries, so we have to strengthen ongoing structural changes and focus on the modern service industry," said Chen Yixin, deputy Party chief of Hubei and Party chief of Wuhan, after he inspected Hanyang's cultural industry in January this year. "We have to accelerate culture-related industries, especially the development of the creative industry, to enhance Hanyang's comprehensive competitiveness."

Over the past few years, Hanyang has been promoting supply-side reform in the cultural industries and striving to cultivate local brands. It has been encouraging the cultural and technology industries to integrate in order to serve young people's preferences and expectations. The cultural industries are also looking for opportunities to partner with the financial and tourism industries to strengthen their comprehensive development in terms of services offered, industrial scale and public awareness, among other factors.

More cultural facilities, such as libraries and art galleries, will be established and supported in Hanyang in upcoming years, as part of the government's efforts to make the region a top global cultural hub.

The local government plans to launch cultural functional zones, such as Qintai Central Culture Art Zone, to develop the local zhiyin (friendship) and modern industrial cultures to promote the area's intangible culture heritage.

The district will pay great attention to art design, cultural financing, cultural creativity and cultural tourism to develop competitive modern cultural industries. It said it will strive to be a national-level cultural innovation demonstration zone, establishing the Yangtze River Civilization Demonstration Area and an international culture communication center.

(China Daily European Weekly 07/28/2017 page27)

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