Officials of foreign consulates general in Guangzhou and representatives of chambers of commerce in countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) gathered in Guangzhou, the capital city of south China’s Guangdong province, on August 2, 2023 to witness the launch of the Guangdong on the Road series.
Guangdong on the Road series to document BRI stories in 10 countries
As 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI, GDToday, the leading Guangdong-based multilingual news provider, will join hands with major media outlets in 10 countries and visit the United Arab Emirates, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Greece, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu, reporting on the Guangdong on the Road series in the upcoming months.
The series report will include multilingual videos and articles, documenting the cooperation between Guangdong, the economic powerhouse of China, and the countries along the BRI.
“I hope media platforms, such as GDToday, will tell more stories about China-Indonesia cooperation and help promote mutual understanding between countries,” said Ben Perkasa Drajat, Consul General of Indonesia in Guangzhou. He downloaded the ready-to-launch GDToday application during the event and said that the news outlet is his primary choice for economic, social, and cultural news in Guangdong.
“GDToday offers a platform where the audiences can learn about Guangdong and China at large. I’m looking forward to the official launch of the GDToday application, and wish the Guangdong on the Road series a great success,” Drajat noted.
The launch ceremony of GDToday’s Guangdong on the Road series. (Photo/GDToday)
BRI countries to increase exports to Guangdong
“Guangdong is a key focus of Greece’s engagement with China, as it is not only the most populous province and the one with the highest GDP in China, but also a manufacturing powerhouse and a major high-tech, innovation, and service center with many world-leading companies,” said Martinos Mandalidis, Consul General of Greece in Guangzhou.
Mandalidis stated that Guangdong is a major destination for Greek exports, and the maritime sector is a focus of cooperation. “Guangdong has been historically a gateway to China and the birthplace of the Maritime Silk Road. The ports of Shenzhen and Guangzhou rank in the world’s top 10 container ports. Meanwhile, Greece is a leader in the global maritime industry, owning 20 percent of the world’s merchant marine fleet.”
Drajat said that cooperation between Indonesia and Guangdong is “on a good track”, and the bilateral trade reached 23.35 billion USD in 2022.
“In the broader context, the economic potential of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has created a ‘pull factor’ for the Indonesian business community to start businesses in the region. The 11-city cluster has become a mega industrial hub, as well as a big market for Indonesian products,” he elaborated.
Khankeo Vue, Consul of the Lao PDR in Guangzhou, stressed the economic and social contribution of the China-Laos Railway. “The railway has handled more than 1.43 million passengers over the past year. As a landmark project of China-Laos BRI cooperation, the China-Laos Railway has transformed our transportation system and will become a key transport hub in the region.”
In terms of Laos-Guangdong cooperation, Vue said that in the first half of 2023, the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport saw more than 8,000 passengers travel between Laos and Guangzhou. “The investment from Guangdong enterprises to Laos is also increasing, especially in the sectors of energy, mining, real estate, and services trade,” he added.
Joyce Lee, Vice Chairman of China Singapore Chamber of Commerce Guangdong Branch, noted that as Guangdong is a manufacturing hub of China while Singapore attaches great importance to the development of manufacturing industries, the two sides can strengthen collaboration in advanced manufacturing, especially in the fields of high-end electronic information, advanced equipment, and semiconductor materials.
More people-to-people exchanges expected between Guangdong and BRI countries
“Vanuatu is a country with a variety of languages and rich traditional culture. Guangdong, as a cultural stronghold of China, has a long history and unique cultural traditions. Through cultural exchange activities, the understanding and friendship between the two sides have deepened,” said Jacques Himford, Consul General of the Republic of Vanuatu in Guangzhou, mentioning the exchanges of art troupes and Guangdong’s donation of digital film projection equipment to the National Conference Center of Vanuatu as examples.
Himford furthered that Vanuatu and Guangdong also have a close and complementary relationship in tourism. “With abundant tourism resources and experience, Guangdong can offer Vanuatu support regarding tourism resource development and management as well as tourism product design. Meanwhile, Vanuatu can promote its own tourism resources and unique culture to Guangdong.”
In terms of educational cooperation, Vue said that universities in Guangdong offer annual Belt and Road scholarships to Southeast Asian students. “There are currently around 78 Lao students in Guangdong, and more are expected to start their study in the province in the second half of the year.”
Group photo of the attendees at the launch ceremony of GDToday’s Guangdong on the Road series. (Photo/GDToday)
Li Wenling, the representative of China Enterprises Association in Papua New Guinea and Executive Director of Shenzhen Vivafounder Investment Holdings Limited, has worked on the construction of an agricultural industrial park in Papua New Guinea under the BRI for five years.
He noted that for Chinese enterprises which landed projects in the countries and regions along the BRI, it is important to observe and respect local laws, regulations, and customs. “If you want to start a career abroad, you need to understand the local people, communicate with them, and develop together with them,” Li said.
Reporter | Lydia Liu, Hannah Zhou, Nina Huang, Fanny Wang
Video editor | Xu Xiaoxin
Video script | Hannah Zhou
Cameraman | Qin Shaolong, Xu Xiaoxin, Guan Jieming, Zhang Tianxiong, Deng Yingheng
Editor | Olivia Yang, Steven Yuen, Jasmine Yin, James