“When I exchanged contact details with a member of staff from Zhuhai Port, I scanned and added his WeChat. It was then, I realized that soft marketing like this will be an effective way for Guangdong enterprises to go global as it’s close to people’s lives,” said Ong Wei Woon, journalist from Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao.
Ong Wei Woon is one of the foreign journalists that attended the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Forum (Guangdong) International Communication Forum in Zhuhai from September 19th to 21st.
They had the chance to approach the world reknowned scholars and entrepreneurs, gaining insight into President Xi’s signature project-the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as well as Guangdong’s place in the project.
Journalists from Southeast Asia interview with Thomas J Sargent, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Economics.[Photo\Li Jiangrui]
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the former Prime Minister of France, said countries have to join this discussion. Right now, France has some projects, and some with Guangdong as well, in such fields as nuclear power and auto manufacturing,” he said.
The forum also highlighted the most topical issues in Guangdong, such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, advanced technology and “Made in Guangdong” brands.
Huang Jingyi, journalist from the Straits Times, said one of her focal points was “how the Greater Bay Area plays a role in the Belt and Road Initiative and how these projects could contribute to the economy of countries that are participating in it”.
Being the starting point for the Maritime Silk Road (an important component of the BRI), Guangdong does see a closer links to and increased number of joint projects along the Belt and Road.
According to a report released at the forum, Guangdong’s import and export volume with BRI countries hit 1503.69 billion RMB in 2017, up 14.9 percent year on year.
“Guangdong’s trade with ASEAN, EU and emerging markets has been growing vigorously. ASEAN for example, became the biggest import market and Guangdong’s fourth biggest export market in 2017,” it adds.
Lee Huay Leng, Head of the Chinese Media Group of Singapore Press Holdings, said Guangdong brands such as WeChat, Canton Fair and Sun Yat-Sen University are familiar to people in Singapore. But they also face challenges, and need to gain more knowledge about the local markets and adopt localized strategies.
Reported by Jasmine Yin
Filmed by Li Jiangrui
Edited by Wing Zhang, Simon Haywood