|Tour of Hunan Geely Automotive shows off its|
high-tech production lines. Provided to China Daily
BEIJING/CHANGSHA (China Daily/ANN) -- Focus on its sustainable economy and environmental protection
Hunan, the birthplace of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, is ready to show the world it is more than just a centre of "red tourism". It is also a rising force in international finance and trade.
More than 30 journalists and photographers from 13 Asian countries and regions recently converged on the province to capture its modern economic development through their lenses and pens.
The group mainly focused on growth in the province's sustainable economy and environmental protection as they visited the cities of Changsha, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan, Changde and Yueyang.
Along with continued implementation of opening-up policies, Hunan has benefited from ever-increasing financial cooperation in Asia.
Statistics from the provincial government show Asian companies started some 350 projects in Hunan during the first nine months of this year, 85 per cent of the province's total. Most are clustered in Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan.
The value of contracts for the projects surpassed US$4.2 billion, 80 per cent of the province's total, making Asian counties the main source of foreign capital.
The province has also built strong ties in ongoing bilateral trade.
As of September, Hunan's trade with Asian countries reached US$7.9 billion. Japan and South Korea are its top two partners, each with trade volume exceeding US$600 million.
The province's Asian trade includes engineering machines, minerals, textiles, electric components and steel.
Asia has also become a steppingstone for investors from Hunan to promote their businesses across the globe.
Some 520 Hunan companies have invested about US$4 billion in Asian countries in agriculture, fisheries, mining exploration, machinery and equipment. Thailand also has the province's first overseas industrial park.
Vietnam, Indonesia, India and the Philippines are the province's largest markets for engineering construction. In 2012, Sinohydro Engineering Bureau 8 alone contracted for a construction project worth more than US$100 million in Vietnam.
Innovation in industry was another highlight of the visit by foreign journalists.
The media delegation said they were impressed by the diverse and world-class products by machinery manufacturer Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co.
They were also amazed when Tang Fen, president of Broad Homes Industrial Co, said only 10 workers can finish construction of a 20-floor building by using the company's semi-automated production lines.
Some reporters also rode a low-speed maglev train on a test track at CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co.
A Malaysian journalist said it was exciting to visit the company and its spectacular workshops because Malaysia has imported many trains from China.
Technicians from Hunan Geely Automotive Industry Co displayed its high-tech production lines that can assemble a car in 80 seconds.
Since Geely vehicles have gained a foothold in Southeast Asian markets, the company's manager said he hopes the visit will help carmaker further enlarge its market share through the support of favourable international public opinion.
Along with economic development, the provincial government has been paying equal attention to environmental protection. Its practices of encouraging "green" industries and lifestyles won recognition from the delegation.
With government support, a Xiangtan-based wind power company has developed a world-leading brand. The company's proprietary products are exported to Holland, Fenland and Germany, gaining a good reputation in those markets.
Also, reporters toured areas along the Xiangjiang River, a new tourist attraction in Zhuzhou city, by bicycle to sightsee and experience the city's public bicycle rental system.
In recent years, the Zhuzhou government has stressed resource conservation and an eco-friendly society in industrial parks. A leisure project in the city's high-tech zone won a gold prize at last year's China International Landscape Design Competition.
The Changde government has also made efforts to protect the Liuye Lake resort since 2007 by evicting polluting factories.
At the Dongting Lake wetland ecosystem monitoring station in Yueyang, a reporter was received by a deer that greeted him by biting the edge of his coat. Workers at the station said they saved the creature when it was young and have fed it for years since it refused to leave.
The visit also brought the foreigners closer to local people. A reporter from Thailand said the Chinese people they met were all warm and friendly, which helped them have an enjoyable journey.