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How can Zhuhai become a strategic pivot of the Belt and Road Initiative?
By Li Na
China.org.cn,  
2017/06/21
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The 3rd China - Israel Investment Summit will be held in Zhuhai City June 27-28. The summit will bring together more than 2,000 business leaders.

The summit is being held against the backdrop of Zhuhai's innovative development and further opening up to the outside world. Guo Yuanqiang, party chief of Zhuhai City, recently led a delegation to visit Israel seeking to promote the investment environment in Zhuhai as well as encourage participation in the summit. In the future, deepened cooperation between Israel and Zhuhai will become a highlight in Zhuhai's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The latter opens up new opportunities for Zhuhai's development, providing opportunities to build itself into a strategic pivot of the initiative.

Experts suggest that Zhuhai can make good use of its geographic advantage, improved infrstructure, preferential policies and unique city features, and give priority to key sectors such as transportation, trade, finance and culture.

Transportation pivot

In 2016, Zhuhai Airport handled passenger traffic amounting to over six million persons/times, and the figure is expected to exceed eight million this year. To cope, the airport will be upgraded to handle an additional two million international tourists a year.

According to national guideline, the Guangzhou-Zhuhai-Macao railway is one of the eight key vertical railways nationwide that will make Zhuhai an important part of the national railway network. Zhuhai has also been listed as a regional logistics hub, so Zhuhai will play an important role in the logistics sector in the western part of the Pearl River Delta, Guangdong and even the entire country.

Strengthening connectivity of infrastructure is an important part of the development of the Belt and Road Initiative. A comprehensive transportation system combining sea, land and air transport will be an important pillar for Zhuhai's participation.

Trade pivot

More and more companies in Zhuhai are turning to emerging markets along the Belt and Road route to promote trade growth.

Zhuhai's cooperation with Hong Kong and Macao has also been deepened. In 2016, its total export and imports with the two regions hit US$6.039 billion, accounting for 14.48 percent of the city total. Hong Kong and Macao are the second and sixth largest exports market of Zhuhai respectively.

As of the end of 2016, a total of 3,376 companies from Hong Kong and Macao had settled in the city, accounting for 84.6 percent of the total number of overseas companies.

In the first quarter of this year, the total export and import amount hit 60.21 billion yuan, 22.4 percent growth year-on-year.

According to relevant guidelines, Zhuhai will deepen its cooperation with Hong Kong, Macao, the entire Pearl River Delta, European countries, America, countries along the Belt and Road route and emerging countries, in order to build itself as an international trade center in the region.

Finance pivot

Financial capital is helping development of various industries in Zhuhai. As of the end of March, there were 4,400 financial institutions in the city, 500 more than at the beginning of the year. Their total financial capital reached 758.4 billion yuan, 5.9 billion yuan more than at the beginning of this year.

Zhuhai is close to Hong Kong, an international financial center, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will be completed soon. These will strengthen Zhuhai's advantages and make the city an important financial pivot on the Western bank of the Zhujiang River for construction of the Belt and Road.

Culture pivot

The Second Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians will be held September 12-24. More than 300 musicians from 34 countries and regions will participate.

The Zhuhai WTA Elite Trophy and the China International Circus Festival have helped promote the city internationally.

Meanwhile, Poland's Gdynia recently became Zhuhai's 13th twin city.

The development of the Belt and Road involves people-to-people bonding, which can be achieved through cultural exchanges and travelling. Zhuhai has carried out cooperation with foreign countries in education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

According to experts, Zhuhai should promote regional cooperation in tourism and culture, including coordinated development of tourism with Hong Kong and Macao.