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福建之行

(2009-10-16 16:18:16)
标签:

英国公司

高速铁路

副领事

贸易港口

广州领事馆

泉州

厦门

财经

Chris Butland, 英国驻广州总领事馆副领事 2009年9月28日

 

我刚从福建省回来,我在那里参加了英国投资贸易总署代表团中国华南区城市的系列访问最新一站。这个代表团由英国驻广州领事馆带队,旨在帮助已进入中国(如北京、香港和广州)一线城市的英国企业寻找在中国其他高速发展城市的商业机会,并帮助他们赢取先机。

 

我们此次巡访的第一站是泉州。我的LonelyPlanet旅游向导说该城市的人口为184千,去到后我才知道其实泉州拥有七百万人口。泉州一度是重要的贸易港口,也曾经是“海上丝绸之路”的起点。今日的泉州也许已失去往日的风光,但它已有雄心壮志的城市发展计划:将城市面积扩大三倍、建设新机场和城市交通系统、通过和谐互助方式将城市各个部分连接(这对英国城市发展的专家来说是一个大好机会)。同时,泉州正在大力发展通讯产业、支持私人企业和推销旅游业。

 

8家英国公司参加了此行,包括3家希望可以参与到“新泉州”建设计划当中的英国建筑企业。活动由访问泉州发改委和城市发展局开始。通过参加英国投资贸易总署代表团巡防,英国企业不但赢得直接向当地政府游说的优势,同时还因为有英国政府出面而赢得中国政府的肯定。

 

巡访期间,我们还会见了泉州市市长。虽然会晤很正式,代表团成员还是成功的在午餐用餐期间与泉州市主要政府官员交谈并交换名片。若不是参加了英国投资贸易总署的代表团,英国企业很难有这样与政府面对面交流的机会。

 

在代表团结束了我们安排的会议和’英国在泉州‘招待会之后,我们乘车来到了位于泉州南部两个小时车程的福建省商业中心-厦门市。1980年之前厦门还基本上没有工业。这个正对台湾的城市一直以来都被认为过于敏感。不过在被规划为经济特区之后,厦门逐渐成为了中国发展速度最快的城市之一:在过去的6年里,厦门的人均生产总值增长速度超过了15%!

 

随着与台湾的多边关系逐渐走上正轨,泉州成为了台商投资的重点城市。自两岸直航开始,厦门成为了往来台湾的门户。在厦门的海岸金门岛附近还有通往台湾多个内陆机场的通道。

 

和泉州一样,厦门对于自身的发展也有着宏伟的计划,包括建立高科技科研发展和物流基地,在厦门湾建立新的金融、文化和教育中心,在厦门岛东部建立新城市中心,建设更多的铁路。一条通往上海的高速铁路预计将在11月完工,另一条通往深圳的高速铁路将在明年竣工。

 

我们在厦门一天的日程中会见了一些政府官员和商务人士。我注意到厦门和泉州的城市规划局都提到了他们对于英国创新产业的认同。这正是我们想听到的。我们重要的推广目标之一就是要改变人们对于英国传统印象,英国还有着它多元化和充满创意的一面。看来我们的目标实现了。

 

我认为这次的访问帮助英国公司真正接触到相关的人士,并与他们建立了联系,这对于他们之后在中国的发展非常重要。我们需要与他们保持密切联系并使之促进今后项目进展。正如厦门的一位官员所说:我们更希望与我们熟悉的人做生意。

 

I have just returned from our UKTI mission to Fujian province, the latest in a programme of visits to Southern China’s regional cities. These missions, led by the British Consul-General from Guangzhou, are designed to help British companies who are already established in mega-cities, such as Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, to explore opportunities in other fast-growing cities of China, and perhaps gain an early-mover advantage.

 

Our first stop was Quanzhou. Although my Lonely Planet guidebook states that Quanzhou’s population is 184,000, this is actually a city of over 7 million! Quanzhou was once an important trading port and known as the starting point of the ‘maritime silk road’. The city may not hold quite such importance today, but it has ambitious plans for its urban development – tripling the size of its city centre, building a new airport and urban transit system, and linking up the disparate parts of the city in a co-ordinated way (opportunity for UK urban planning expertise!). Quanzhou is also trying to develop its telecommunications industries, support private enterprise, and promote tourism.

 

8 British companies joined the UK delegation, including three architectural practices who are hoping to put their stamp on the ‘new’ Quanzhou. The programme kicked off with a call on the city’s Development and Reform Commission and Urban Planning Bureau. By joining the UKTI mission, companies not only get the chance to make a pitch direct to the local government, but gain some credibility and profile from having a UK government introduction.

 

Next was a meeting with the Mayor of Quanzhou. The meeting was typically formal, but lunch afterwards provided better opportunities for networking. With a number of courses and plenty of time in-between, delegates were able to work their way around the large table, swapping business cards with key figures and decision-makers in the Quanzhou government – contacts they would normally find it difficult to meet.

 

After some more meetings we had arranged on behalf of the delegates and our ‘UK in Quanzhou’ reception, we were back on the bus for the 2-hour journey south to Xiamen, the commercial centre of Fujian province. Until 1980, Xiamen had very little industry. Located across the straits from Taiwan, the area was considered too sensitive. But after being designated as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Xiamen became one of China’s fastest-growing cities: in the last six years, its annual GDP growth has been over 15%!

With cross-straits relations now on a positive track, the city is a leading recipient of investment from Taiwan. With direct air links established in recent years, Xiamen is well positioned as the gateway to Taiwan. From nearby Jin’men island, which lies just off the coast of Xiamen, there are also connections to all of Taiwan’s domestic airports.

Like Quanzhou, Xiamen has grand plans for its development – new bases for hi-tech R&D and logistics, and new financial and cultural/education centres in the Xiamen bay area, as well as a new city centre in the east of Xiamen island, and more rail links. A new high-speed railway line to Shanghai is slated for completion in November, with a high-speed line to Shenzhen next year.

During our one-day programme in Xiamen, we had a mix of calls on government and company-specific meetings for the delegates. I noticed that both the Xiamen and Quanzhou Urban Planning Bureaus mentioned the UK’s reputation for creativity and innovation. This was good to hear - one of our key marketing goals is to dispel the UK’s image as only being a traditional and historic place, and to emphasise its dynamic, innovative side. That message seems to be getting through!

I think this mission helped companies get introduced to the right people, and form the personal relationships that are so important to doing business in China. The next stage will be to maintain these relationships, and use them to drive projects forward. As one Xiamen official succinctly reminded us: ‘we prefer to do business with people we know’.

 

Chris Butland, Vice-Consul (Trade & Investment) in Guangzhou

 

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