Industrial base aims to tempt HK investors

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 12:00am

One of the mainland's key heavy industrial bases is polishing its new image as a business middleman in an effort to woo Hong Kong investors.

Leading officials from the northeastern province of Heilongjiang launched a Hong Kong publicity campaign yesterday, focusing on increased interest in trade with Russia.

'We know which places in Russia have the best investment environments and which sectors hold out the best profit prospects,' said vice-governor Wang Limin . 'In one word, we know the name of the game in Russia.'

The province shares a 3,000km border with Russia.

Representatives from more than 300 Heilongjiang companies will conduct a week-long drive in Hong Kong next month.

Hong Kong's exports to Russia surged 30 per cent last year to US$281 million, while imports grew 54 per cent to US$498 million, the Trade Development Council said.

In the first half of this year, trade with Russia was up 30 per cent year on year.

Mr Wang said Heilongjiang could play a role in expanding Hong Kong-Russia trade because of its geopolitical advantage, expertise in the Russian market and a logistics network that had been developed in the past decade.

Trade between Heilongjiang and Russia grew 44 per cent year on year to US$2.2 billion in the first eight months of the year, while the province's exports to its neighbour grew by almost 75 per cent.

Mr Wang urged Hong Kong to emulate eastern coastal provinces, which have embarked on Russian-related projects worth more than 10 billion yuan in Heilongjiang.

Hong Kong businesses have already invested US$3.2 billion in the province.

Mr Wang said Heilongjiang's traditional heavy industrial base and Hong Kong's expertise in light industries and service sectors complemented each other.

Heilongjiang features in the State Council's latest drive to rejuvenate the traditional industrial bases in the northeast. The central government has offered policy incentives to three provinces to reinvigorate their economies and solve severe unemployment problems.