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The Ningxia Hui autonomous region has used the China-Arab States Expo and the construction of the inland opening-up pilot economic zone to boost economic development in recent years, local officials

said.

They said the exposition is an important platform for Ningxia in Northwest China to promote communication and cooperation with Arabic countries and regions. The event, formerly known as the Ningxia Fair and the China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, has been hosted five times in Ningxia since 2010.

More than 10,000 delegates from home and abroad participated in the China-Arab States Expo 2015 in Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia, in September. At the event, 241 projects were signed, involving 183 billion yuan ($27.93 billion) and covering fields such as food, new materials and equipment manufacturing.

 

The wine industry is an economic pillar in Ningxia as it is one of the best grape-growing areas in China. Provided to China Daily

Several cooperation organizations, including the China-Arab States Technology Transfer Center, were set up in Ningxia during the 2015 expo.

The State Council approved in September 2012 that an inland opening-up pilot economic zone, which involves the whole autonomous region, would be established in Ningxia. The autonomous region has actively strengthened economic and trade cooperation with Arabic countries and other nations in recent years as it constructed the zone and a bonded area in Yinchuan.

Ningxia also guided local companies to invest overseas in recent years and local companies have set up 95 businesses in 28 countries and regions. Among them, 32 were based in countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, initiatives proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Local officials said Ningxia would promote the construction of an industrial park in Saudi Arabia to help Chinese steel, cement, glass, halal food processing and equipment companies expand abroad. It also plans to accelerate the construction of an industrial park in Oman, which is expected to open in late May.

Ningxia has improved its transportation in recent years to boost its opening-up economy. It opened air routes connecting Yinchuan directly to overseas regions, including Dubai, last year.

A route connecting Dubai to Zhengzhou, the capital of Central China's Henan province, via Yinchuan, will open on May 3. Three flights are expected to fly to Dubai through Yinchuan every day by the end of August.

The region also promoted trade cooperation with foreign countries and regions via the Internet. Some cross-border e-commerce platforms are now run from Ningxia, such as Zhongatao.com and Silkeroad.com. The region has cooperated with e-commerce giant Alibaba to sell local specialties, including wine and halal food, online to other countries and regions.

The Online Silk Road Forum at the China-Arab States Expo 2015 showcased the Internet-based trade achievements between China and Arabic countries and further promoted cooperation on aspects such as cross-border e-commerce and cloud computing.

Last year, Ningxia issued a document on integrating into the Belt and Road Initiative and further developing the region's economy. According to the document, the region would boost industries including wine, advanced equipment manufacturing and new energy. It wants to become a demonstration area for inland opening-up and play an important role in the Silk Road Economic Belt.

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(China Daily 03/03/2016 page10)