FTZ delivers explosive growth to Nanning economy

By YUAN SHENGGAO (China Daily)

Updated: 2020-11-27

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Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, has developed into a key platform for cooperation and exchanges between China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. LIAO JIANNING/FOR CHINA DAILY

Thousands of new businesses registered, with billions invested and overhaul of transport infrastructure begun

Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, is riding high with the China (Guangxi)Pilot Free Trade Zone.

The FTZ, which straddles parts of Nanning and two other cities in Guangxi, aims to provide a new land-sea channel for international trade, especially with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It also aims to be a key spot on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, according to its official website.

The Nanning Area of the Guangxi FTZ, covers 46.8 square kilometers, or 39 percent of the total zone's area. It focuses on modern finance, digital economy, processing trade and logistics, and the culture and medical care industries. It has witnessed an investment boom since it was launched in August 2019.

Four months after its opening, the area attracted more than 1,860 businesses, including 13 large projects by domestic investors with a total investment value of 9.76 billion yuan ($1.48 billion).

Despite the novel coronavirus outbreak, the area has seen more than 5,500 new businesses registered during the first 11 months of this year.

To date, 55 foreign-funded companies have a presence in the area, involving $111.26 million in combined paid-in investment. The total investment value of 37 large projects by investors from other Chinese regions surpassed 17.58 billion yuan.

The area witnessed its pillar industries become a magnet for investors.

Currently, close to 140 financial institutions have settled in the China-ASEAN Financial Town. They have launched 70 innovative services, which has pushed Nanning up six places in China's Financial Center Index, which was released by the China Development Institute in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, last December.

Construction of 47 key industrial projects related to the digital economy has started, with a total cost of 27.2 billion yuan. A geographical information-themed town is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2020. Nearly 100 companies have signed agreements to settle there.

From January to October, nearly 250 new companies were added to the Nanning Comprehensive Bonded Zone. The zone generated more than $4.94 billion in foreign trade during the first three quarters of 2020, a surge of 106 percent year-on-year. It ranked 16th among more than 100 comprehensive bonded zones nationwide, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

During the first 10 months, processing trade for imports and exports surpassed $4.36 billion, a jump of 99 percent over the same period last year. Meanwhile, cross-border e-commerce dealers secured nearly 3,190 orders, worth 1.62 billion yuan in total, up 17 percent and 175 percent, respectively.

Behind this bustling trade and investment are Nanning's innovations in public services and business environment.

The Nanning Area of the Guangxi FTZ has launched 25 innovative measures. Six of them are the first of their kind in the country. They were included on the first list of Guangxi's 14 best practices filed with the Ministry of Commerce.

The area has developed a one-stop integrated service mechanism with streamlined administrative approval procedures and promotes digital filings.

A premium location and an expanded transport network, featuring railways, expressways, air routes and waterways, also add appeal to Nanning.

In close proximity to ASEAN markets, Nanning is developing into a regional transport hub.

The mileage of expressways running through the city has reached 958 kilometers. This year, 12 expressways, totaling 606 km, are under construction, said Wei Ran, head of the planning, development and management office of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Nanning Wuxu International Airport has opened routes to 118 cities, with 196 direct flights including 26 to ASEAN cities.

Since the first direct airfreight service between Nanning and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in October 2019, the airport has added more scheduled international flights. Its international freight throughput in July topped 1,208 metric tons, a surge of nearly 960 percent year-on-year.

That was attributed, in part, to the opening of an integrated service center at the airport that month. The airport handled more than 7,940 tons during the first 10 months, up nearly 370 percent.

Convenient transportation has boosted the local exhibition industry and international exchanges.

Since 2004, the China-ASEAN Expo has been held 16 times in a row, forming the Nanning channel for opening-up and cooperation between the two sides, local officials said.

The annual event has become a calling card of Guangxi and plays a key role in China-ASEAN collaboration in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, they noted.

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A scheduled freight train service links Nanning and Hanoi, Vietnam. DUAN LIUJIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

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Business representatives introduce their products to visitors at the China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning. PAN HAO/FOR CHINA DAILY

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In proximity to Southeast Asia, Nanning enjoys a premium location to boost trade with the ASEAN members. QIN SHAORONG/FOR CHINA DAILY