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    As the nation's traditional center of heavy industry, Heilongjiang not only has abundant resources, but also a rich pool of well-educated talent.

    It is also where the modern service industry came into China, as well as a priority destination for both tourists and investors.

    As part of its continuing development, the province's governor Li Zhanshu hailed cooperation with Hong Kong and has high hope for further partnerships made during the Heilongjiang-Hong Kong Trade Cooperation Seminar to be held from May 17-22.

    "Hong Kong is an international financial, trade and shipping center," he said.

    "Its people's marketing concepts and management experience are their advantages. In the process of the rejuvenation of the old industrial bases, we have decided to consolidate primary industries, upgrade secondary industries and intensely develop tertiary industries," Li said.

    "So they offer tremendous potential for our further cooperation," the governor noted.

    The province will considerably increase the green coverage of Heilongjiang in three years while constructing a transportation network of high-quality highways and railways, airports and airlines, and river-sea transport. The high-speed development of Heilongjiang provides an enormous opportunity for its cooperation with Hong Kong.

    Heilongjiang will hold exchanges with the Hong Kong government, its enterprises and communities.

    A long-term forum for interaction will be established gradually.

    "We are strengthening credit availability in Heilongjiang while improving the security for investors to create good business environment for Hong Kong enterprises," he said.

    The Heilongjiang government noted potential cooperation in the following fields:

    Entrepreneurs from Heilongjiang and Hong Kong are expected to jointly develop the Russian market and participate in infrastructure construction in the Far East.

    Hong Kong investors participate in large-scale infrastructure construction in Heilongjiang, including highways, railways, airports, railway stations and ports.

    The reform, restructuring and technological transformation of State-owned enterprises in Heilongjiang also welcomes the participation of Hong Kong businesspeople.

    The shareholding system reform of private enterprises in Heilongjiang and the establishment of a modern enterprise system are open to participation by Hong Kong entrepreneurs.

    Heilongjiang needs Hong Kong investors to help develop the financial industry and help local enterprises enter international capital markets.

    Hong Kong businesspeople are welcomed to participate in the building projects for environmental protection in Heilongjiang.

    Tertiary industries, in particular the modern service sector, embrace more investors from Hong Kong as the city has a thriving service sector.

    Hi-tech and advanced manufacturing industries also beckon entrepreneurs from Hong Kong.

    Heilongjiang will jointly conduct multifaceted trade in the international market.

    Heilongjiang's agricultural and green food development needs participation of Hong Kong investors.

    Successful model

    Cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland is a successful model, Li said.

    After Hong Kong's return, its government created the "9 plus 2" mode that played an important role in Pan Pearl River Delta cooperation. After Donald Tsang became the chief executive of Hong Kong, the investment areas have been expanded to the central, west and northeast areas of the mainland, including Heilongjiang.

    By the end of June 2008, Hong Kong ranked first among investors in Heilongjiang, with 2,853 investment projects worth a total of $5.62 billion.

    One hundred businesspeople and 138 experts from Hong Kong have gained the Clove-Bauhinia Gold and Silver Medals granted by Heilongjiang provincial government.

    Li stressed that Tsang, who has extremely acute and strategic insight, pins high hopes on further cooperation between the two areas.

    "During his visit to Heilongjiang in 2007, Mr Tsang provided us with many valuable ideas and helpful suggestions on how to deepen our cooperation and in 2008 Mr Tsang led Hong Kong's political, business and technical elites to visit Heilongjiang, demonstrating his full faith in our cooperation," the governor said.

    "So I believe this year's Heilongjiang-Hong Kong Trade Cooperation Seminar will push our cooperation to a new high," the governor said.

    'Golden mountain'

    "Heilongjiang province is an untapped 'golden mountain' to be explored, and now it is right time to make a decision to invest in it," said Governor Li Zhanshu.

    As one of China's major manufacturing industrial centers, the province in Northeast China has a distinct edge in petrochemicals, power station equipment and machinery, mini vehicles, small passenger planes and bio-tech industries.

    Currently, provincial authorities are advancing construction of the Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar Industrial Corridor, a development zone with a planned area of more than 900 sq km and a total investment of 220 billion yuan.

    The project, connecting three cities - the provincial capital Harbin, oil-rich Daqing and manufacturing center Qiqihar as well as their surrounding regions - boasts ample energy supplies and sound industrial foundation, and thus is expected to play an instrumental role in revitalizing the traditional industrial base and spurring growth of local economy.

    Along with the industrial progress, agriculture has long been a pillar sector of Heilongjiang's economy.

    One of the world's three greatest expanses of rich soil, the province has nearly 10 million hectares of arable land and accounts for one-10th of the country's total fine farming fields.

    With an annual production capability of 50 billion kg grain, 3 million kg meat and 4.6 million kg milk, Heilongjiang ranks top and second in output of grain and animal husbandry respectively among Chinese provinces.

    Considering the worldwide food crisis, the fertile land seems an ideal choice for investors.

    Developing export-oriented finished agricultural products for the neighboring countries that rely on food import, like Japan, is also expected to reward investors, provincial government said.

    In addition, finance is listed a priority in the province's opening-up industries. As the provincial government released a series of new preferential policies in recent years, more investment is expected to be drawn to this sector with huge growth potential.

    Boasting its well-preserved ecological environment, the province is rich in tourism resources including forests, prairies, wetlands and snow and ice tourism sites. Heilongjiang is also becoming a popular summer resort.

    (China Daily 05/08/2009 page15)

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