The autumn rendezvous
China has a consistent strategy in developing its coastal or border cities. A popular way to do this is to organize international trade fairs, conferences, forums and even world beauty contests in its remote regions to boost development. For instance, the Boao Forum for Asia takes place annually with the expectation to replace the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and the Miss World Contest has been organized five times in Sanya, Hainan Island.
For the economic field, there is the CAEXPO.
Stemming from Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s initiative at the 7th ASEAN – China Summit in 2003, since 2004, the CAEXPO has been organized annually in Nanning City, Zhuang Autonomous Region in China’s Guangxi province. The CAEXPO, implemented by the Guangxi Administration, is jointly held by China’s Ministry of Trade, the 10 ASEAN member countries’ trade ministries and the ASEAN Secretariat.
Aiming to boost the ASEAN – China free trade area and share cooperation and development opportunities, the exposition has become an important mechanism that promotes friendship exchange, trade promotion and cooperation in different fields among ASEAN member states and China.
In recent years, in mid-autumn when yellow leaves and the stalls selling mid-autumn cakes make the streets colourful, China’s remote city of Nanning becomes an annual rendezvous for Chinese and ASEAN businesses. Vietnam has always dominated other ASEAN countries with its number of businesses and stalls at the event. This exposition attracted the participation of 110 Vietnamese businesses with 200 stands out of 4,600 stands of other ASEAN members and in the region, topping the list of the number of businesses and stands of ASEAN countries and others.
The billion-dollar exposition
The Nanning International Convention Centre looks like a star-fruit rising to the sky, circled by a colourful ribbon of flags and flowers.
The CAEXPO is considered one of China’s ten top expositions and becomes an increasingly important rendezvous not only for Chinese businesses, but also those from ASEAN countries and partners from other regions.
The organizers of the exposition not only want to make it a symbol of ASEAN – China cooperation, but a place for billion-dollar contracts. After the previous nine expositions, the total contract value of international investment has reached over 50 billion USD, an impressive number in a time of crisis!
The encouraging sound of the gong
In the afternoon of September 2nd, apart from his bilateral meetings, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the exposition’s stands. This year, the stands are divided into five specified areas: commodity, cooperation and investment, science and technology, services, and attractive cities where each country will introduce a city to promote exchange and cooperation with other cities in the region.
At CAEXPO 2013, ASEAN members and China chose the cities of Nanning (China), Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei); Kampong Thom (Cambodia); Vientiane (Laos); Ipoh (Malaysia); Singapore; Yogyakarta Special Region (Indonesia); Isabella Province (Philippines); Trat Province (Thailand); and Quy Nhon (Vietnam).
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the stand introducing Vietnam’s Quy Nhon. The introduction about Vietnam’s cities to friends at the CAEXPO in recent years has focused on potential coastal cities in central provinces of Vietnam, including Nha Trang and Hoi An.
The Prime Minister rang the gong at the front of the stand that introduces Quy Nhon City. In the Nanning afternoon, the sound of the gong resounded in the vast space of the exposition, reminding international friends of a sunny and windy coastal city of Vietnam’s Quy Nhon.
The sound of the gong is the urging of the head of the Vietnamese government to Vietnamese businesses on the path to conquer new markets, with opportunities and challenges, to bring about prosperity for the country.
With ten years of joint efforts by ASEAN and China, a beginning for a prosperous future has been wrought at Nanning rendezvous.
Written by Van Yen
Translated by Ngoc Hung