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Overseas Chinese to Play Important Role

Capital and high-tech investment from overseas Chinese will play an important role in revitalizing the economy of Northeast China, a leading official said yesterday.

National Development and Reform Commission Vice-Minister Zhang Guobao made the remark at the second national conference for overseas Chinese enterprises, held in the capital of Liaoning Province.

"This conference will help northeastern China become a platform for the co-operation with overseas Chinese in North America and Southeast Asia," said Zhang. He added that their "unique advantages in terms of high-technology and capital will help revitalize this old industrial base." This three-day event includes a governors' forum, a rejuvenation strategy seminar and contract signing.

About 400 overseas Chinese entrepreneurs from 28 different countries and regions attended the conference. Potential areas of co-operation include information technology, biomedical sciences and modern agriculture.

Some of the entrepreneurs have been here in Northeast China for almost two weeks. During this time they have met local officials and business colleagues.

"As the nation's traditional heavy industry base, we are hungry for advanced technology and capital to bring about revitalization. This is just what you have. I believe our co-operation would benefit both of us," said Xu Weiguo, governor of Liaoning Province.

There are about 35 million overseas Chinese around the world. They have played an important role in China's reform and opening process. Their investment accounts for over 70 per cent of China's foreign investment, said Chen Yujie, director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council.

"Their enthusiasm to come back and invest in their motherland will surely benefit China's development in all fields," Chen said, "and they are also the most active group in this revitalization campaign."

Li Wancai, vice-governor of Liaoning Province echoed Chen, stating that the investment from overseas Chinese businessmen is growing rapidly in the northeast.

Shenyang Mayor Chen Zhenggao told China Daily that over 60 per cent of foreign-invested companies in Shenyang are funded by overseas Chinese, in sectors including information, manufacturing and agricultural products.

"We welcome overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to help revitalize the northeast," said Chen, adding "we would try all means to help them succeed here."

Different from other regional conferences, all three governors from Northeast China's Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces took part in the conference.

"The region's growing market and improving investment environment attracts us. The central government's strategy to revitalize the northeast region will give more business opportunities to overseas Chinese businessmen," said Qu Jianben, vice-president of the Austrian Overseas Chinese Chamber.

(China Daily July 19, 2004)

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