Here's to you 'Donald Tung'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2008, 12:00am

The leaders of Hong Kong and Heilongjiang have urged their business communities to co-operate more closely to pursue opportunities in Russia.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, leading a large trade delegation in the northeast of China, made the appeal at a symposium in Harbin yesterday.

But he could be forgiven for thinking the relationship needs a little work after the vice-governor of the province, Du Jiahao, perhaps thinking of Mr Tsang's predecessor, addressed him as 'Chief Executive Tung'.

After a reminder from an aide, Mr Du swiftly corrected himself by saying 'Chief Executive Tsang'.

Mr Tsang said Heilongjiang's border with Russia was more than 3,000km long and some of its regions, such as Heihe , had developed a flourishing cross-border trade.

'Its relationship with Russia and Russian-speaking people are its unique advantages. Therefore, Hong Kong enterprises can make use of these advantages to work with Heilongjiang companies and people to expand their trade in Russia.'

By the end of last year, Hong Kong had invested in more than 2,800 projects in Heilongjiang and ranked first among investors in the province, Mr Tsang said.

Around 150 officials and businessmen from Heilongjiang attended the symposium and met more than 100 Hong Kong business leaders.

Heilongjiang governor Li Zhanshu also listed nine areas - including construction of transportation systems and development of financial services - where the province wanted to see more co-operation with Hong Kong investors.

The cost of running businesses in the Pearl River Delta region had been increasing and there was a trend to move to the northeast, Mr Li said.

After three days in Harbin, Mr Tsang led the delegation to Changchun , in Jilin province , in the afternoon where they met officials of the provincial government.

Jilin Party Secretary Wang Min briefed them about the province's industry, such as transport equipment manufacturing, food processing from agricultural products, and petroleum and natural gas extraction.

He encouraged Hong Kong businesses - already Jilin's largest foreign investors - to do more business there. Mr Tsang said there was room for co-operation in the service sector.

The delegation, which is making an eight-day trip, will visit a meat processing firm, a car making company and a railway vehicle producer in Changchun today.