Guizhou taps Hong Kong for funding and talent
Guizhou, a southwest province long known for its strong mao-tai liquor, is seeking capital and talent from Hong Kong to boost its economy.
The province has brought 480 projects to the city for investment, with a total capital demand of US$150 billion. Contracts for 60 projects worth a combined US$26.2 billion are expected to be signed today.
"Hong Kong is the top source of foreign investment for Guizhou," said Zhao Kezhi, the provincial party secretary. "It makes up 70 per cent of the foreign funds in the province."
This is the third time Guizhou has looked for funding from Hong Kong. Over the past three years, 88 Hong Kong enterprises have invested in the province, according to official data.
Guizhou, a mountainous region that is home to 49 ethnic groups, has lagged the mainland's more developed eastern areas. By gross domestic product growth, it is one of the weakest provinces, although average annual growth in the past five years was 12.8 per cent and its growth rate of 12.6 per cent in the first quarter this year ranked No1 on the mainland.
Poor transport links have hindered the development of Guizhou, but that is changing. At present, 2,630 kilometres of expressway have been put into use and another 2,500 kilometres are under construction. "By the end of this year, the expressway in use will reach 3,200 kilometres," said Zhao (pictured).
Railways and airports are also being built, with 1,400 kilometres of railway under construction on top of the existing 2,068 kilometres.
A daily flight between Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou, and Hong Kong started last year, according to officials.
Governor Chen Miner said there were prospects for co-operation between Guizhou and Hong Kong. "We welcome Hong Kong financial organisations to establish branch offices and set up industry funds in Guizhou," he said, adding that talent from the city was also much needed.