Nueva Ecija’s sister province Anhui is now new frontier in China’s opening up

BEIJING –  Anhui, a sister province of the Philippines’ Nueva Ecija province, is now the new frontier of China’s opening up bolstered by Belt and Road Initiative.

With members of diplomatic corps as their guests, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi joined hands with Anhui province officials in bringing out the best of Anhui through promotional exhibits and video presentation titled “An Open China: Splendid Anhui Welcoming the World” held at the Foreign Ministry Affairs headquarters last Tuesday.

”Nearly 40 years ago, the rural reform in China started in a village in Anhui province. Today, Anhui is at the forefront of reform and innovation and engagement with the world,” Yi said in welcome remarks.

Founded in 1667, Anhui is an eastern Chinese province with an area of 140,100 square kilometers and has 70.27 million population.

The province is located in the most economically dynamic region of Yangtze River Delta. Yangtze and Huaihe rivers run across Anhui eastwards and naturally divide the province into plain area in the northern part, hilly area in the middle and mountain area in the southern part.

The southern part has one of the world’s best mountains – Mt. Huangshan which has 72 peaks including the highest peak Lotus Peak with a height of 1,864.4 meters above sea level and crowned as the Natural and Cultural Heritage of UNESCO and World Geopark.

”There is a saying in China: After you visited Huangshan mountain, you will not be interested in other mountains in China. So it is one of the best and most beautiful mountains in the world,” Yi said.

Yi as well as Anhui Province’s Party Secretary Li Jinbin and Gov. Li Guoying have asked the ambassadors to extend the Anhui’s invitation to the people of their respective countries.

”I’m confident that the Anhui province, with a pine tree at the top of the Huangshan mountain, have opened their arms to welcome all of you,” Yi said.

With its advantageous geological location, Gov. Li said Anhui can play important role for China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well as in the Yangtze Economic Belt.

The 416-kilometer section of the famous Yangtze River runs through Anhui province covering seven cities – Anqing, Chizhou, Tongling, Wuhu, Maánshan, Xuangcheng and Chuzhou.

”Anhui will fully leverage its advantage as the connection of the Belt and Road area and the Yangtze river economic belt,” he said.

He said Anhui has so far established sister relations with 87 foreign countries, including Nueva Ecija province, the rice granary of the Philippines, in 2000 and has extensive connections with 140 countries and regions and friendly relations with over 70 international organizations.

In 2016, Anhui had a total 267 foreign capitalized enterprises and attracted USD14.77 billion foreign direct investment and made USD1.24 billion outbound investment in 137 countries and areas.

Anhui province has a total investment of USD40.3 billion in 100 key investment projects of strategic emerging industry including new energy automobile and high-end equipment manufacturing; traditional industry and service industry.

So far, the province has business relations with 19 countries along path of the Belt and Road, an initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jingping in 2013 to use interconnectivity to boost economic progress in Asia, Africa and Europe.

”Having pursued innovation in recent years, Anhui will keep abreast with the world in economic development. Anhui will be an important member of the global village,” Ji Jinbin, for his part, said.

He said the access through rivers and seas as well as high speed railway, road expressways, airports and China-Europe railway have put the province in good advantage as the best place for investments.

Gov. Ji said Anhui is the backbone of China’s manufacturing industry, being the country’s largest manufacturer of home appliances and home of famous car brands JAC and Chery.

”Anhui has been the center of China’s manufacturing industry. We are developing our strategic and emerging industries and we are ranked second in China’s production of industrial robots,” he said.

In 2016, the province spent RMB47.5 billion for research and development in Anhui’s 109 universities and colleges.

At present, Anhui has 21 state-level economic and technological development zones as well as free trade zone in Hefei, the province’s capital city.

Last year, the gross domestic product of Anhui hit RMB2.4 trillion, an increase of 8.7 percent with an annual growth rate of 9.7 percent for the last five years.

Ji Guoying said Anhui is determined to follow the success story of Shanghai in the establishment of free trade area.

Despite massive investment on strategic and emerging industries, Ji Guoying said the province remains the nation’s top producer of variety of agricultural products.

Last year, Anhui has 34.2 million total yields of grain, 185,000 tons of cotton, 2.15 tons of oil plants, 112,000 tons of tea, 27.47 million tons of vegetables, 4.1 million tons of meat, 1.35 million tons of poultry and eggs, and 2.36 million tons of aquatic products.

Ji Guoying said Chinese traditional food tofu was discovered by a king in Anhui over 2,000 years ago while the province also produces one third of China’s 10 famous teas including Keemun black tea.

The province’s imports and exports of agricultural products totaled USD2.9 billion in 2016.

He said Anhui has also a vibrant tourism industry and rich in historic and cultural sites, being one of the cradles of China’s pre-historical culture.

”To see is to believe. So we would like to invite you all to take time to visit Anhui province to enjoy what you have seen in our promotion and exhibits today,” the province governor told the diplomatic corps.Jelly Musico/