Kaifeng, a city in the eastern part of Henan province, is looking to emerge as a logistics and transportation hub in Central China and a major connection point for domestic and foreign trade, according to a local official.
As one of the three sections of the China (Henan) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Kaifeng is building a special international railway line that links lands and ports. The railway line will help enterprises lower their transportation costs and boost the growth of the international logistics industry in the province, said Gao Jianjun, mayor of Kaifeng and a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress.
Last year, Henan Bian'Ou Import and Export Trade Co Ltd started the first special train that imported goods from abroad through ocean shipping and railway. So far, the train has made more than 15,000 trips to provide services for foreign trade export companies in the region.
"Next, the Kaifeng section of the FTZ will establish a joint air cargo service center, and extend the service of Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport," said Gao.
"As a transportation pivot, Kaifeng also plans to build an international land port, a highway port and a river port that mainly transports grain."
The Kaifeng FTZ area will also focus on developing industries such as services outsourcing, tourism, creative design, artwork trade and cultural communications.
Kaifeng has been an industrial hub in Henan province for decades. A group of major domestic and foreign enterprises, such as China Resources and Singapore-headquartered real estate company Mapletree Investments, have set up their branches in the Kaifeng FTZ area.
Shanghai Mapletree Management Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Mapletree Investments, has built a comprehensive logistics center in the area. With an investment of 800 million yuan ($112 million), the project focuses on high-end logistics storage facilities, cold chain logistics and e-commerce logistics systems.
Besides, Shanghai-based Yihai Kerry Group has invested 2.7 billion yuan in building an agricultural products processing center. The center is engaged in the processing and refining of peanuts and soybeans, the deep processing and marketing of rice and wheat, and the production of high-quality single-use edible oil packs. Once the project is complete, it is expected to achieve an annual output value of 10 billion yuan, according to the company.
By the end of April, the Kaifeng section of the FTZ was home to 5,538 companies.
In the past three years, the area has seen a boom in investment. The number of registered companies there was 30 times higher than the period before it became an FTZ area, and the number of registered foreign companies was 28 times higher. In the first four months of this year, Kaifeng attracted 76 investment projects, and the investment value reached 48.2 billion yuan, according to the local government.
Last year, the business environment of the Kaifeng FTZ area was ranked 43rd in a simulation ranking by World Bank index, and it was three places higher than the national average.
"We will make full use of the FTZ functions, develop more projects that are related to the Belt and Road Initiative and the ecological protection of the Yellow River. Besides, the city will create more diversified sales channels and complete industrial chains for enterprises," said Gao.