Hebei seeks to build image with HK listings for 30 provincial firms

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2008, 12:00am

Hebei province, long in the shadow of nearby Beijing and Tianjin, plans to increase its economic profile by listing 30 local companies on the Hong Kong stock exchange this year, governor Guo Gengmao says.

Provincial officials did not identify which industries would be targeted, but Mr Guo said Hebei was transforming its economic structure to tertiary industries from steel.

According to Hebei's economic website, at least eight leading companies from the province are listed in Hong Kong, including Great Wall Motor, China Shineway Pharmaceutical Group, China Pharmaceutical, Xinao Gas and Enric Holdings.

Hebei province recorded gross domestic product growth of 12.9 per cent last year. It has averaged 12.2 per cent growth over the past few years.

Mr Guo and a delegation from Hebei province were in Hong Kong yesterday for the start of a two-day promotional visit, which included a meeting with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

'We realised that the trend of the world economy is more complicated than was expected, and we believe that Hong Kong and mainland China should take the right remedial steps for co-operation in order to offset problems that arise,' Mr Guo said.

The province's vice-secretary general, Song Zhenhua, said the group was presenting 300 investment opportunities, but did not give specific details.

'The service sector, hi-tech and environmentally friendly industries are the highlights of the business promotion activity in Hong Kong this time,' Mr Guo said.

He said the provincial government had already weeded out companies that caused serious pollution and requested others to upgrade their technology to lower emissions.

Hebei province surrounds two key cities directly managed by the central government - Beijing and Tianjin - which typically attract more investment.

'Under the market economy mechanism, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei should be complementary to each other,' Mr Guo said.

The province, which will host soccer games for the Beijing Olympics, guaranteed clear air, clean water and safe food during and after the event, he said.

Mr Guo did not estimate how many tourists will visit the province during the Olympics in August, but said 400 hotels, an expanded airport and 20,000 tourist guides were prepared for the rise in travellers.