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People from ASEAN countries weaving dreams in Chinese lands

Source:   Time:

When talking about China-ASEAN cooperation in the Agricultural sector, it's natural to think about how convenient residents in Guangxi could buy fruit from these Asian nations. In fact, transactions in the sector between China and ASEAN are more than that. Entrepreneurs from Asean countries are plowing Chinese earth and weaving their dream in the foreign lands. Niu Yun reported from their farms in Guangxi.

A 30 minute drive from the port city of Qinzhou, greeting the eyes is a green sea of cactus-like plants studded with beautiful red fruits and gigantic white flowers. The 500 hectares farm is now the largest dragon fruit production base in Guangxi. Liu Yalie, from Malaysia, left his high position in a Malaysian palm oil and rubber company, to start over here in 2003. Now, the farm is already 10 times bigger.

In the first half of 2010, China imported more than 360 thousand tons of fruit from ASEAN countries, up nearly one quarter over the same period last year. The dragon fruit imports roughly account for over 10 percent, which Liu Yalie interpreted as a huge demand in the Chinese market.

As proof of his word, he began to develop dragon fruit by-products, such as dragon fruit juice and wine. He also had plans to add tourism and recreation projects.

Malaysian Tai Kok Kong, shares a similar story with Mr. Liu. He believed hens could become cash cows in Guangxi, where most eggs are imported from North China. His farm now has 240 thousand hens and can produce 160,000 eggs per day in the suburb of Nanning. It only fulfills one quarter of his final plan. At present, his 10 million US dollar investments have not brought profits yet. But local people have already benefited from it.

Wang Jinying said "Our boss is quite good to us. He helps us pay pensions and health care insurance. I'm quite satisfied."

In China and most ASEAN countries, agriculture is still a pillar industry. The sector witnessed the earliest cooperation back in 2003. Under the China-ASEAN free trade agreement, over 700 produce items are tariff free. For investors coming to China, they could also enjoy free operating taxes and other supportive measures from local governments. A noticeable trend is that a growing number of smaller businesses from Asian countries, are bringing their expertise and weaving their own dreams on China's lands.

It's amazing that small dragon fruits and eggs could become one's life-time cause. Tomorrow, in the final episode of BizAsia China-Asean special reports, we'll check out how the Chinese hi-tech companies are making the port city of Beihai as the forefront of their expansion into the Asean markets.Please stay with BizAsia for the special coverage on China-Asean Free Trade Zone.

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