TIANJIN City — Large Chinese construction companies have expressed enthusiasm to seize abundant opportunities that Belt and Road Initiative is offering to broaden their overseas market.
Since interconnectivity of infrastructure is the priority of the Belt and Road, Wang Xingzhou, board chairman of China Railway 18 Bureau Group Co., Ltd, (CR18G), said opportunities now for construction works are “boundless.”
“Our group will take the opportunity of the Belt and Road and make great efforts to the new markets along the maritime silk roads,” Wang said in recent interview with Chinese and Asian journalists.
Wang said CR18G, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), will adhere to the Belt and Road’s development strategy of expanding international market.
“We will leverage our advantage in enterprise technologies and construction and management and fulfill our responsibility and build brand of Chinese enterprise,” he added.
CRCC, one of the Fortune Global 500 companies, is a state-owned firm which, Wang said, will build the proposed Mindanao Railway in the Philippines.
Founded in 1958 as 8th Division of Railway Engineering Corps, the CR18G is engaged in the construction of railways, water conservancy and hydropower, highways, bridges, tunnels pavement, airport runways, and buildings.
CR18G, Wang said, has 20,000 manpower and construction capacity of over RMB60 billion (USD 8.8 billion) with 180 projects undertaken in 17 countries to the tune of RMB40 billion (USD 5.8 billion).
He said the group has 23 ongoing projects along the Belt and Road countries such as in United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
STECOL Corporation, an enterprise under Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) which is also a Fortune 500 company, also intends to use Belt and Road to further expand business abroad.
”Faced with opportunities and challenges brought by Belt and Road, we should endeavor to improve our business structure, focus on upgrading of business mode and control of overseas risks,” Yang Tao, vice president of STELCOL Corporation, said.
Yang said STELCOL has undertaken nearly 350 projects in 33 countries, including the Philippines, and regions in the field of electric power, water supply, and drainage, roads and bridges, railways, airports and seaports.
“We have a unique and more profound understanding to the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as a wealth of experience for its implementation,” he said.
On the other hand, Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) has been getting attention from Belt and Road countries due to its successful China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone project.
The project is a state-level overseas economic and trade cooperation zone between China and Egypt approved by the Chinese government nearly 10 years ago.
James Zhang, chief executive officer of China-Egypt TEDA Suez Economic Zone, said China-Africa has been promoting ‘TEDA Mode’ which adapts to the development of overseas industrial parks.
“TEDA Mode is attracting more and more Belt and Road countries’ attention,” Zhang said.
Zhang said Saudi Arabia, in particular, has sent a delegation to China and has lauded TEDA’s planning and construction, investment and operations of the industrial parks.
TEDA, which posted RMB73.8 billion (USD 10.69 billion) income in 2016, was established in 1984 with a business scope that includes regional development and real estate, public utilities and modern service industry.
With RMB306.7 billion (USD 44.3 billion) total assets, TEDA is No. 252 among the “Top 500 Chinese Enterprises” and No. 9 among “Tianjin Top 100 Enterprises.
Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 aimed at linking Asia with Europe and Africa and the countries in between and to put forward areas of cooperation particularly in trade, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.
CR18G, STECOL and TEDA are just among thousands of enterprises located inside China (Tianjin) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ).
The 119.9-square kilometer Tianjin FTZ was officially opened in 2015 to serve as a high-level open platform for the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
The zone has a 30-square-kilometer Dongjiang Port Area which has been serving as main maritime gateway to Beijing with ports for cargo container ships and cruise ships as well as a man-made beach.
FTZ also covers Tianjin Airport Economic Area and Binhai New Area Central Business District (CBD) and is connected to China-Europe railway freight, one of the major routes of Belt and Road’s Silk Road economic belt.