With a theme of "Colorful Local Culture, Connected Silk Road", Guangdong Week kicked off on Aug 18 at the China Pavilion at the ongoing World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan. Nearly 200 people attended the event.
Officials addressing the opening ceremony included Zhang Wei, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), Li Yiwei, deputy secretary-general of the Guangdong provincial government, Liu Yuelun, chairman of the Guangzhou Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Liu Jiangping, charge d'affaires of the Chinese mission to Kazakhstan, Yao Rui, executive director of the China Pavilion, Kasenov Baurzhan, deputy head of Pavlodar region, Talgat Doskenov, vice-chairman of the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Aidyn Bayedilov, general director of the Kazakhstan Investment Cooperation Agency (KICA). Other attendees were representatives of Chinese and Kazakhstan government agencies, chambers of commerce and enterprises as well as representatives of other countries' Expo pavilions.
Zhang Wei said that the Expo's focusing on the theme of "Future Energy" has offered an important platform for countries to showcase their achievements in developing and utilizing new energy, explore the strategies of cooperation on energy and advance sustainable development. As its status as a forerunner of China's reform and opening up since 1978, Guangdong has a long history of developing commerce and trade. It has made remarkable achievements in new energy and technological innovations, according to Zhang Wei. He said that Guangdong Week would see events ranging from an energy development forum to major city promotional fairs, and from a Guangdong-themed cultural performance to intangible cultural heritage exhibitions, all of which are expected to put on full display the province's developmental achievements and help business people from other countries including Kazakhstan better understand the enormous opportunities in Guangdong. Zhang expressed the hope that the province will take advantage of the Expo to expand pragmatic cooperation with Kazakhstan and its neighboring countries, thus advancing the Belt and Road Initiative.
Li Yiwei outlines the basic facts of Guangdong that illustrate its potential opportunities for cooperation with Kazakhstan. Guangdong has huge requirements and potential in energy consumption and is striving to transition to clean energy with a vision of green and environmentally friendly development, according to Li Yiwei. He said that he believes there is a great future for energy cooperation between Guangdong and Kazakhstan, as the province has made rapid progress in energy equipment in recent years and more than 20% of its energy now comes from non-fossil fuels. With the opening of China-Europe freight train routes Guangdong is expected to pick up speed toward complementary cooperation with Kazakhstan, said Li, adding that Guangdong is more than willing to join hands with Kazakhstan in a bid to cooperate together with the East Asian and Southeast Asian markets, which are closely connected to Guangdong.
"Come to Guangdong, and you will unravel the mystery behind China's development as you learn about Chinese people's diligence, wisdom, openness, and inclusiveness as well as their friendship," said Liu Jiangping in response to many questions as to why China has become the second largest economy in a short period of 30 years. As a forerunner driving China's reform and opening-up policy and an important birthplace of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Guangdong has become one of the country's leading provincial economies, according to Liu Jiangping. Taking advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative, Guangdong is drawing more attention with its long history of opening-up, sound economy and advanced ideas on development, said Liu. As a response to the varied events featured at Guangdong Week, the Guangdong delegation is expected to gain more cooperation opportunities and quality partners, Liu said.
Kasenov Baurzhan said Guangzhou Week provides opportunities for people across Kazakhstan to fully understand Guangdong. Kasenov Baurzhan expressed the hope that both Guangdong and Kazakhstan will leverage the opportunities on energy cooperation and further explore the potential in strengthening cooperation on culture and tourism. Four of the 51 China-Kazakhstan cooperation projects are being carried out in Pavlodar, an example of how it is essential to strengthen regional cooperation in the context of the new world economy, according to Baurzhan. He said he believes the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the Bright Road Plan will move forward smoothly as they have the support of both countries' top leaders.
Aidyn Bayedilov spoke highly of Guangdong's economic strength, noting that its GDP has exceeded the combined GDP of certain countries. As Guangzhou and Shenzhen are the most advanced and high-potential cities in Guangdong, Aidyn Bayedilov expressed the hope that Astana will set up a representative office in both after the Expo to continue close cooperation between Guangdong and Kazakhstan.
The Guangdong CCPIT and the KICA sign a memorandum of cooperation at the opening ceremony. Lin Tao, head of the Guangdong CCPIT, said his organization would use the Expo to showcase Guangdong's economic vitality and healthy business environment to the world. Guangdong is set to attract international high-end, capital-intensive industries while exploring creation of a multi-level outbound investment and trade promotion system.
The China Pavilion is sponsoring several 3-day events during Guangdong Week, including a Guangdong-Kazakhstan Energy Forum, an Exhibition of Guangdong's New Energy Projects, a Guangdong-Kazakhstan Trade Exchange, a Beautiful Guangdong Photo Exhibition, a Guangdong-themed Artistic Performance and Intangible Cultural Exhibition, a Major City Promotional Fair, a Key Enterprise Promotional Exhibition and a Guangdong Tourism Promotional Fair. These events highlight Guangdong's new image of glamour, vitality and creativity.