Silk Road expo expands international opportunities for Shaanxi
21 Nov 2023


Exhibitors from more than 50 countries and regions are exploring opportunities for collaboration at the seventh Silk Road International Exposition, which opened on Thursday in Xi'an, Shaanxi province.


Zhao Yide, Party chief of Shaanxi and chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shaanxi People's Congress, said at the opening ceremony that with the in-depth promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative and the implementation of an innovation-driven development strategy, Shaanxi has been able to accelerate its industrial upgrade and increase its already strong development momentum and opening-up.


The province uses the expo as an opportunity to deepen cooperation with all parties in connectivity, trade and investment, scientific and technological innovation, industrial development, people-to-people exchanges and other fields, and work together to achieve higher quality and a higher level of development, Zhao said.


Shaanxi will continue striving to create a first-class business environment and provide better services so that friends at home and abroad can innovate and start businesses in Shaanxi, he added.


Shaanxi is the eastern starting point of the ancient Silk Road and an important base from which China is able to open up to the West in the new era.


The expo showcases trade and investment cooperation in line with the BRI, focusing on promoting higher quality development. Over the years, it has become an important platform for regional cooperation and has made a positive impact on economic development, cultural exchanges and tourism.


The event has allowed Shaanxi to establish trade relationships with more than 220 countries and regions and to cooperate closely with some 100 friendly international cities.


"The Belt and Road Initiative has promoted the development and cultural exchanges of Central Asian countries and increased people's incomes and employment. It is good for win-win cooperation," said Ali Khalilli, a representative from Azerbaijan.


Azimov Farukh, a counselor at the representative office of Uzbekistan's Ministry of Investments, Industry and Trade at the Uzbekistan embassy in China, said that economic and trade exchanges "have brought new opportunities for the development of Uzbekistan — not only promoting the protection and inheritance of Uzbekistan's intangible cultural heritage but also further consolidating and developing friendly relations between the two peoples".


The Belt and Road Initiative promotes connectivity cooperation between all the countries involved, Farukh said. "In this process, cultural exchange is very important, not only to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between people but also to promote economic, scientific, technological and medical cooperation."


Farukh has lived and worked in China for 17 years and has been dedicated to the dissemination of Uzbekistan culture.


Ayumi Kusaba from the Beijing office of the Japan External Trade Organization arranged for 12 Japanese food companies to participate in the exhibition. He called the expo "an opportunity for enterprises from all over the world to communicate and showcase their products."


"I have participated in all seven consecutive expos," he said. "We are very optimistic about the Chinese market. Through this platform, we hope to introduce our products to more Chinese consumers, especially those from the central and western regions."

The expo also provides a chance for local companies to expand their businesses overseas and attract foreign investors.


Shaanxi Construction Engineering Holding Group Corp is the first construction enterprise in Shaanxi to go abroad with China's reform and opening-up. The group's overseas business unit, Top International Engineering Corp, continues to accelerate its development.


As of the end of October, it completed contracts valued at 14.6 billion yuan ($2 billion). Its annual growth rate is expected to exceed 20 percent.


Yan Yongjun, president of Top International, said the company has set up territorial operations in 32 countries and regions, building six overseas business regions — Western and Southern Africa, the Middle East, West Asia, Central and South Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.


In the first three quarters, Shaanxi's total import and export volume to countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative increased by 22.8 percent year-on-year, and its total export volume to five Central Asian countries increased by 205.2 percent year-on-year.


Liu Ajin, chief executive of the general association of Shaanxi entrepreneurs, said that after the BRI was proposed, the association paid great attention to promoting Shaanxi enterprises to the world.


"More than 300 Shaanxi chambers of commerce have been set up around the world, and more than 50 business institutions have been established in more than 40 countries and regions, contacting with more than 3 million Shaanxi business people around the world," Liu said.


The expo not only promotes economic and cultural exchanges but also supports tourism development. Shaanxi Tourism Group has built the country's first Silk Road cultural park in Xi'an, featuring seven themed cultural areas.


The park attracted more than 700,000 visitors in less than six months, offering a unique experience. Additionally, Silk Road-themed musical products, co-produced by Shaanxi Tourism Group and a US entertainment company, has further facilitated cultural exchanges.


The event has become an important platform for Shaanxi's integration into the BRI, contributing to the formation of a dual-circulation development paradigm. Over the years, Shaanxi has been involved in contracts worth $45.37 billion in foreign investment and more than 8 trillion yuan in domestic projects.


This year's expo included more than 20 key meetings and forums in four categories, including a roundtable on economic and trade cooperation, a conference on trade in services and a conference and forum on opening-up, trade and investment exchanges.


Source: China Daily