Hunan projects seek US$160 billion in investments from Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 June, 2013, 3:53am

Hunan province is seeking up to US$160 billion from Hong Kong investors for nearly 400 projects during a six-day trade event this week.

Contracts for 23 major projects were signed yesterday. At a conference in the city, 63 key projects with a total investment of US$51 billion were introduced to potential investors.

Hong Kong is Hunan's No 1 source of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the province's largest export destination, official figures show.

Last year FDI in Hunan reached US$7.28 billion, of which US$4.3 billion, or 64 per cent, was from the city.

The province's exports to Hong Kong reached US$2.2 billion, accounting for 21 per cent of its total exports.

"Hunan's gross domestic product reached 2.2 trillion yuan [HK$2.79 trillion] in 2012, with an average annual increase of 13.3 per cent over the past five years," governor Du Jiahao said.

"New industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, new urbanisation and a number of other works will be high on our agenda," Du said.

A total of 17 new urbanisation projects were promoted yesterday, including one called Plum Lake Eco-city in Zhuzhou county that will be a tourism park with high-end holiday residential facilities. The project is seeking investment of US$5.7 billion.

At another project, Huaminglou Central Small Towns Development, near the province's capital, Changsha, it will cost US$6 billion to build the residential area, tourist and commercial complex as well as the industrial park and hotel.

Hunan has traditionally grown rice and cotton, but machinery, steel, tobacco and food processing, and electronics are now also major contributors to its economy.

The province will also benefit from the trend of manufacturing industries shifting inland from eastern provinces such as Guangdong and Zhejiang in a bid to lower land and labour costs.

Bordering Guangdong province, Hunan may become an attractive destination for manufacturing enterprises, with convenient transport and a population of 72 million that provides a large pool of workers.