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Wenzhou ups efforts for trade, SMEs

By Zhong Nan and Ma Zhenhuan| China Daily| Updated: December 6, 2022 L M S


An employee observes a robotic arm working at a smart production facility in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, in July. SU QIAOJIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Industrial hub banks on new practices to enhance chains, expand exports

With China encouraging local governments to play a bigger role in sustaining their foreign trade, Wenzhou, a coastal city in East China's Zhejiang province, will further reinforce the resilience of its industrial chains and facilitate companies in securing more export orders, said market watchers and exporters.

As a major industrial and export hub in the Yangtze River Delta region, the city introduced an "industrial chain chief" scheme to ensure employment, the operation of its foreign trade sector and its industrial chains in May this year. A total of 20 government officials have been serving as chiefs of various industrial chains to help companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, to seek foreign orders and expand their sales channels in both home and global markets.

Some districts and economic zones in the city also have their own key industrial chains and have implemented the scheme together.

Apart from participating in different national and global trade fairs, these industrial chain chiefs led companies to take part in 77 docking activities with various parties across China and signed 221 projects with a total order volume of 39.3 billion yuan ($5.56 billion) by Nov 27. The program served and benefited 8,357 local companies, with more than 90 percent being SMEs, according to Wenzhou's government.

For instance, eight Wenzhou-based auto parts manufacturers have become suppliers to domestic electric carmaker Neta, a brand owned by Tongxiang, Zhejiang-based Hozon Auto, after the city government invited the automaker to Wenzhou in July.

Dai Bingjie, a sales manager at Qiaoluming Technology Co Ltd, a Wenzhou-based auto parts manufacturer, said the company, as one of those suppliers, gained 100 million yuan in new output value from this partnership in 2022.

The scheme aims to connect the key links of the upstream and downstream industrial chains and forge a long-term mechanism by participating in the communication and coordination of related businesses, said Zhang Yili, a professor at the school of business of Wenzhou University.

Similar views were expressed by Yu Xinchen, deputy head of the Wenzhou branch of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, who said these moves will offer precise support for Wenzhou's exporters to better understand the favorable terms of multilateral and bilateral free-trade deals such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement. It will also develop emerging markets and boost the city's strength in growing new foreign trade formats, including cross-border e-commerce business, market procurement, foreign trade-related services, bonded maintenance and remanufacturing.

While inviting large companies to Wenzhou, its manufacturers, from the auto parts, electrical and healthcare sectors, recently reached a cooperation intention deal of 950 million yuan with both overseas and domestic partners, after taking part in five batches of product promotion events across the country, said Wenzhou's government.

Wenzhou Duofu Aviation Industry Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based light-duty helicopter manufacturer Duofu Aviation Industry Group, sealed a deal to supply 20 helicopters to Shanghai X-Square Aviation Co Ltd at the 14th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province in early November.

"As light and ultralight helicopters are forecast to be the most popular market segments in both Chinese and global civil helicopter markets, the general aviation business in aerial emergency rescue, short-haul transport and low-altitude tourism is expected to grow further in the coming years," said Liao Yunwu, president of Duofu Aviation Industry Group.

Empowered by supportive policy measures, surging freight volume of the China-Europe freight train services, manufacturers' industrial upgrading and innovative activities, Wenzhou registered a total foreign trade value of 242.3 billion yuan from January to October this year, surpassing the total value in 2021 with a year-on-year increase of 26.3 percent, according to data released by Wenzhou Customs, a branch of Hangzhou Customs.

In addition to the steady progress of deals applying traditional business models, Wenzhou's foreign trade was stimulated by the implementation of new business patterns and platforms related to market procurement, cross-border e-commerce and comprehensive bonded zones, said Wang Daning, an official at Wenzhou Customs.

Eager to create more commercial opportunities for its businesses, especially SMEs to better connect with large companies, the 2022 Fortune China 500 Summit was held in Wenzhou in early November. Business executives from Budweiser, SAP, Metro and Midea Group attended the event.