Wenling rides the BRI wave

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-15

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Potential customers at the booth set up by Zhejiang Dayuan Pumps Industry Co Ltd at this year's Canton Fair. [Photo/taizhou.com.cn]

Wenling, a county-level city in East China's Zhejiang province, has made significant progress in leveraging the opportunities spawned by the Belt and Road Initiative over the past decade, with local private enterprises playing a crucial role in driving this development.

Wenling has fully embraced the BRI and established mutually beneficial trade and investment partnerships with participating countries, which have become vital to the city's foreign trade.

In 2022, Wenling's exports to BRI countries surpassed 16 billion yuan ($2.21 billion), accounting for 43 percent of the city's total exports. From January to September, the city exported goods valued at 14.49 billion yuan to BRI countries, showing an increase of 16.61 percent compared to the same period last year.

Notably, Mongolia, Russia, and the seven countries of Central Asia experienced exceptional growth, with exports reaching 3.87 billion yuan in the first three quarters of this year — a 50.5 percent surge compared to the previous year. The Russian market alone exceeded 3 billion yuan, an impressive growth rate of 56.15 percent.

The success of Wenling under the BRI can be attributed to its thriving private enterprise sector. Over the past decade, private enterprises in the city have emerged as the most dynamic contributors to foreign trade development with countries involved in the initiative.

One example is Leo Group, a pump manufacturer based in Wenling, which has been actively expanding into BRI markets since 2014, successfully selling its products in over 50 participating countries and regions. The company has even established overseas subsidiaries in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

In June, Leo signed a strategic cooperation memorandum with the Saudi Ministry of Investment to enhance investment in various sectors aligned with the characteristics and demands of the Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern markets. This move aims to support the transformation and development of industrialized cities in Saudi Arabia.

Similarly, Wepon Medical Technology Co Ltd, located in Wenling, completed the acquisition of a 95-percent equity stake in a medical company in South Africa in 2016, further benefiting from the opportunities created by the BRI.

Zhejiang Dayuan Pumps Industry Co Ltd, another Wenling-based company, achieved remarkable results at the recently concluded Canton Fair. The fair saw an increasing number of interested customers from countries and regions participating in the BRI, including Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.

Tong Peili, head of overseas markets at Dayuan, emphasized the growing importance of the Belt and Road markets for the company. "This time, we have made arrangements for customers from Russia,Turkiye, Iran, Bangladesh, and other countries involved in the initiative to visit our factory and explore further possibilities for collaboration," she said.