Where is Qinzhou and why you should know more about it?
Not many Malaysians have heard of Qinzhou, let alone visited this ancient and yet ultra-modern port city on the southern tip of Guangxi Autonomous Region. Certainly, it’s already on our radar screen after the China-ASEAN Expo 2011 in Nanning, and soon enough, the name will pop up even more often especially in China and Malaysia and among Malaysian and Chinese entrepreneurs.
For a start, Qinzhou is one of the starting points of the Silk Route on the Sea even as early as the Han Dynasty from where China maintained its sea links with the coastal regions in Southeast Asia along what’s known now the Beibu Gulf.
But Qinzhou holds a special significance to Malaysia as it hosts the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, an iconic joint-venture project between Chinese and Malaysian entrepreneurs promoted by the Chinese and Malaysian governments.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao proposed the establishment of the project, an eco-friendly, ultra-modern smart city on 55 sq km of land in Qinzhou, on April 28 at the China-Malaysia Economic and Investment Co-operation Forum and the project has been given the full support by the Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Both the Malaysian and Chinese governments have agreed to make the construction of the Qinzhou Industrial Park an iconic project, reflecting the growing cooperation between the two countries.
Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak said when signing the MOU with Premier Wen on the industrial park project that it would be a landmark to showcase the ability of Malaysian companies in undertaking large scale industrial projects. The industrial park is very strategic, given its proximity to the ASEAN countries and its port that serves regions around the Beibu Gulf.
Currently, the project is still in the preliminary stage, it has been agreed that the Malaysian multinational firm, the Rimbunan Hijau Group, will be the lead company of the Malaysian Consortium, which will then form a joint company with the Chinese Consortium. The joint venture company will be the master developer of the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Park. The joint venture company will plan and implement the overall development of the park which will be carried out in three phases and will take 15 years to complete. The first phase of 15 sq km will be ready in five years. Malaysians have been offered a 49 per cent stake in the project.
The Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who together Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, Chairman of the Malaysia-China Business Council and the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, visited the park during their visit to CAEXPO 2011.
Tan Sri Ong who has been appointed Senior Advisor to the Qinzhou Municipality and have had made several visits to Qinzhou earlier, said Qinzhou is strategic as it is not only China’s economic hub for its vast southwestern region of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guangdong provinces, it is also its gateway to Southeast Asian countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Qinzhou Industrial Park aims to be an Information Technology hub, modeled after our Multimedia Super Corridor, a manufacturing base for automotive and ship component parts, port equipment and facilities and food processing, and a modern services centre. With various tax incentives, good infrastructure, and commitment by the Malaysian and Chinese governments, it presents an unprecedented opportunity for Malaysian entrepreneurs eager to seize a piece of the huge and growing Chinese economic cake.