JIN Zheng: ‘Belt and Road’ Deepen Cooperation Between Yongkang and Europe

EurAsia Info Exclusive interview with Mr JIN Zheng, Mayor of  Yongkang City, Zhejiang Province of China

From May 17 to 24, an economic and trade delegation from Yongkang City (Zhejiang Province) Party Committee visited a number of important cities in Italy and Switzerland to promote the “belt and road” project cooperation, deepen regional exchanges, promote friendly cooperation and actively strengthen the relationship with Swiss and Italian local governments, chambers of commerce, enterprises, universities and other representatives.

China is one of largest hardware producers, how will this fit into the “belt and road”project? Yongkang is known as the “hardware capital”, how could it cooperate withsmall and medium-sized enterprises in Europe? On May 23, secretary Jin Zheng gave an exclusive interview to “EurAsia Info” CEO Zhu Ailian.

Switzerland. On May 23, Yongkang City Party Secretary Jin Zheng, together with the Yongkang Municipal Committee Director Li Haifeng, Yongkang City Science and Technology Bureau Secretary Li Xing Zhou, Yongkang Municipal Bureau of Quality Supervision Yang Kezhong, Yongkang Municipal People’s Government Foreign Affairs Office Translation Zhu Guodong, Chairman of the Tieniu Group Co., Ltd., Chairman of the Group, Mr. Xu Dongyun, Chairman of the Group, and Ouyang Bo, General Manager of Zhejiang Hals Vacuum Vessel Co., Ltd. and Mr. Chen Huahua, CEO of Southwest International visited of the, Switzerland, “EurAsia Info” headquarter in Zurich and the European representation of the CCTV. “Charming China” section.

EurAsia Info: Welcome to the “EurAsia Info” headquarter! Can you give us a brief introduction to the economy in Yongkang?

JIN Zheng Mayor: Yongkang City, in the middle of Zhejiang Province, is an young, vibrant city, however, with a very long tradition. Yongkang has become the world’s leading hardware production base and a corresponding well developed labour market.The product range is very comprehensive and many products are “best in class”. Theproduction chain as well as any supporting services are also very complete. Yongkang can provide excellent locations and a very well developed the traffic network.

We hope that through this visit, more and more international friends become interestedin Yongkang and support its development. We also hope that more and moreinternational cities will join our “friends circle”. Furthermore, we hope that Yongkang’senterprises respond positively to the call, broaden their horizons and make better use of international markets.

EurAsia Info: You have just visited the city of Turin, Italy. Did you identify areas of potential cooperation between Yongkang and Italy?

JIN Zheng: Turin is one of the three major industrial centers in Italy. The development focuses on heavy industry, automobile manufacturing, machinery manufacturing and information technology. The industrial characteristics and urban atmosphere are quite similar to those of Yongkang.

Turin is famous for industrial design and puts intensive focus on technological development; we are convinced that there is a big area for cooperation and we are eager to deepen the  exchange, to benefit from their advanced experience and learn typical practices so that Italy’s advanced manufacturing factors can also work in Yongkang.

EurAsia Info: Can you tell us more details from this trip to Italy?

Jin Zheng: In the beginning, we visited the Automobile Museum, the Maserati Automobile Factory, the top five incubators in Europe and the European Institute of Design, Turin, with a long history and high international reputation.

We met the Vice Mayor of the Municipal People’s Government, the President of the Foreign Affairs Office of Turin, the President of the Turin Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and some business representatives for in-depth discussions. As a result, we reached a preliminary consensus on the next steps. It can be said that the trip to Italy was a very good experience and beneficial for us.

EurAsia Info: Before this trip, has there been any cooperation between Yongkang andItaly?

Jin Zheng: In fact, the relationship between Yongkang and Italy is very deep and the cooperation between hardware and equipment manufacturers on both sides have also started to bear fruits. There is an Italian company in Yongkang,, called Lawa Cleaning Equipment Co., Ltd., operating only for a few years, but having a firm foothold already and being one of the top 100 taxpayers. There are also friendly business contacts between Yongkang’s Fenluo design and Italian enterprises. The president of the European Institute of Designin Turin also visited Yongkang and we had a very good interaction.

EurAsia Info: Congratulations to your successful visit in Italy! We are now in Zurich, Switzerland. What do you do during your visit in Switzerland?

Jin Zheng: Here, we have visited the Sigg Factory in Frauenfeld which is a Swiss factory controlled by a Yongkang Enterprise. We also visited the municipal government of Frauenfeld and discussed with the representatives of the government, the president of the Swiss Economic Association and the local business representatives on the prospects of cooperation between Swiss companies and Yongkang enterprises.

At the beginning of this year, China and Switzerland signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a platform for an innovative strategic dialogue, to strengthen the ties between the “Made in China 2025” and the Swiss “industry 4.0” projects, to promote the cooperation between the research institutions in both countries. This makes us feel that the prospects for innovation and cooperation between Yongkang and Switzerland will get brighter and brighter!

EurAsia Info: What are the perspectives for innovative cooperation between Swiss SMEs and the counterparts in Yongkang?

Jin Zheng: The development of small and medium enterprises in Yongkang and Switzerland has a lot in common. The economic stability and advanced technology in Switzerland, with the flagship of the “Swiss manufacturing”, representing excellent quality and innovation fit to Yongkang’s spirit of “a hundred years temper, perfect” craftsmen. Moreover, the Swiss SMEs play a very important role in the national economy andmany prestigious products are actually produced by small and medium enterprises. A similar observation applies to Yongkang’s private enterprises. I believe that the Swiss small and medium enterprises have unique advantages for innovation in technology, services and other aspects where cooperation between companies in the two countriescan expand more and more.

Yongkang products are hardware-based, most of them are closely related with the people’s lives, they are cost-effective and competitive for the European markets. We look forward to Switzerland’s role as a “bridgehead”, enabling Yongkang manufacturing to enter into the European market, bringing the cooperation between”Swiss manufacturing” and “Yongkang manufacturing” to a new level.

EurAsia Info: You just said that a Yongkang enterprise is actually controlling the SwissSigg factory?

Jin Zheng: Yes. The Sigg factory was founded in 1908 and has more long history of designing, manufacturing and selling high-end water bottles. After more than 100 years of development, the company has become an international brand with diversified products, with a very rich experience in international operations and sales. “Haers Vacuum Containers Co Ltd.” in Zhejiang has acquired the company’s entire equity.Haers has been founded in Yongkang and became the largest domestic manufacturer of stainless steel vacuum vessels.

After the completion of the acquisition, Haers could increase brand awareness in the European and American markets and smoothly enter the international market. Furthermore, Haers could complete their product line and develop new products based on strong research and development capabilities. This was the short-term development;let us see how the cooperation between the two sides deepens in the future.

EurAsia Info: Which role will Yongkang as one of China’s top 100 cities play in the “belt and road” project?

Jin Zheng: European manufacturing has always been rigorous and meticulous but many of our products are also very competitive and comparable with European ones. Many Italian and Swiss companies have a cutting edge technology and want to find the right partners, use their technology in more areas, enhance the influence and enlarge the value.

As a government department, we should continue to explore the platform for deepening cooperation and cooperation for enterprises, we should “pave the way for the bridge” between the two sides and introduce a strong support subsidy policy. Yongkang is the home of entrepreneurship and the government will always focus on the development of our industry and on innovative business.

EurAsia Info: You are a witness of the new era of economic and social development. What is your view of Yongkang’s future?

Jin Zheng: The government is just setting up the stage, the enterprise will sing the opera. Many industries and enterprises in Yongkang have been successful in opening to the outside world but there is still a lot of room for the future development of “Yongkang manufacturing”.

I hope that Yongkang’s enterprises are not afraid of competition and challenges, that they are not shy facing difficulties and failures and dare to stand on the international stage and take the initiative to sing, with Yongkang’s good voice.

We will deepen the cooperation with domestic and foreign counterparties in all areas of cooperation, developing “Yongkang manufacturing” to “Yongkang quality” and”making quick money” to “century-old shop”. We will focus on innovation, continuous improvement of quality and efficiency in order to build China’s or even the world’smost advanced manufacturing base.

EurAsia Info: Thank you for sharing your views with us! We hope that Yongkang can utilise Switzerland as a bridgehead into the European market. We look forward to Yongkang further strengthening the economic and trade cooperation, moving towards abright future.

May 23, 2017 Zurich

EurAsia Info President Zhu Ailian

Zhejiang Yongkang City Mayor Jin Zheng  (picture: EurAsia Info team)

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