6.8-6.12 2019China·Ningbo
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Ningbo's power behind the identity of “three top destinations” for CEECs2019-06-12

The three “top destinations” refer to the top destination for CEEC products to enter the Chinese market, the top destination for two-way investment and cooperation between China and CEEC, and the top destination for cultural exchange between China and CEEC. Ningbo has determined to spare no effort to realize this goal. Now, the goal is almost attained. 

Ningbo has been pushed to the forefront of exchanges between China and CEEC and the piloting has unleashed an overall effect. More piloting projects of Ningbo will provide a fresh experience to the nation. The reporter has selected some typical examples of Ningbo to showcase the strength of Ningbo.

A good story of China told by a cultural center

These days, the city of Ningbo has been busy with the first China-CEEC Expo and International Consumer Goods Fair. In Bulgaria thousands of miles away, the Sofia Chinese Cultural Center has also attached great importance to the expo and has thus particularly planned a joint exhibition of the works of Chinese and Bulgarian artists. Seven Bulgarian artists came to Ningbo to attend the exhibition. For this purpose, Tu Xuesong, director of the Center and his co-workers are busy with the reception work with staff in Ningbo, while assisting Bulgarian artists to handle the issues for their visit to China.

The Sofia Chinese Cultural Center was officially established on November 23, 2017. It is jointly operated by the Ministry of Culture and the Ningbo Municipal People’s Government. The Center aims to play an important role in promoting the friendship and exchange between the people of both countries based in Sofia and radiating to all Central and Eastern Europe countries.

As the first overseas permanent establishment of Ningbo with the use of a national platform, Tu Xuesong and his team have devoted themselves to the glorious and arduous work from the first day of their arrival in Bulgaria. “The main task of the center is to tell a good story of China and convey the voice of Ningbo to the local people and the people of Central and Eastern Europe,” Tu said, for Ningbo, this is an outstanding platform and a rare opportunity, which, if fully utilized, will significantly promote the international image of Ningbo.

As a newly established organization, the work of Sofia Chinese Cultural Center needs to be explored. Limited by a shortage of staff, Tu and his colleagues have overcome many difficulties. They started from going deep into the grassroots to learn about the national customs and social conditions of Bulgaria, find the right way of integration, and connect with domestic resources through different channels. They have gained a foothold gradually and all work is carried out in an orderly manner. Last year, the Center worked closely with the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria to carry out activities.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Bulgaria. The Center will organize a series of activities to celebrate the anniversary, which is also a good chance for showcasing the work achievements of the Center in the past year.” Tu said with a smile.

It was reported that starting from the Spring Festival this year, the Center has been busy with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between both countries. In June, more activities will be held. “The Center will work with Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism to launch a Chinese Tourism Culture Week in Bulgaria and organize a Ningbo Cultural Tourism Promotion Week in Sofia and Ningbo’s sisterhood city Varna,” Tu said.

Pursuing a dream with a pair of crystal shoes

From the China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum held in Croatia to Shenzhen International Gifts Fair, from the Beijing International Horticultural Exposition to the Hong Kong HOFEX...For more than a month, Zhang Peng, the head of Ningbo Bonded Area Yashengxiang International Trade Limited, has made “frequent air trips” with Czech crystal, beer and president cake to the aforesaid events.

“We have been to Czech pavilion in top international exhibitions. The president of Czech has attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the two exhibitions,” Zhang said proudly that from the first China International Import Expo last year to the Beijing International Horticultural Exposition, Ningbo “Yashengxiang” has become a Chinese spokesperson in the Czech Republic. Today, he has set his sights on the first China-CEEC Expo which is to be held in his hometown.

Having returned to the place where they started to pursue their dream, Zhang Peng and his team were filled with all sorts of feelings.

In recent years, as Ningbo has continuously strengthened economic and trade cooperation with the CEECs, the CEEC business of “Yashengxiang” has been growing and more CEEC products have entered Chinese borders through Ningbo. His company has won the exclusive dealership of several Czech national products in China and thus become a “supporting family member” of the Czech national pavilion.

On the first China International Import Expo held in Shanghai last November, the story of a pair of crystal shoes was widely circulated. On the first day when the Czech national pavilion was opened officially, the staff member Miloslav Schneier encountered a “crisis” of exhibits. A pair of beautiful Bohemian crystal shoes was purchased by an enthusiastic visitor shortly after it was taken out of the cupboard.

As a Chinese representative of the Czech national pavilion, Zhang Peng said that he could solve the problem upon hearing the incident. He sent some staff to urgently transfer the exhibits from the Czech national pavilion of Ningbo Imported Commodity Center to replenish the exhibits of the booth the same night.

Ningbo Imported Commodity Center gained considerable fame almost instantly.

At the Czech Exhibition Hall of the Beijing International Horticultural Exposition, the products exhibited by Ningbo Yashengxiang included Crystalite Bohemia crystal representing the top traditional crafts of Czech, and the locally famous Litovel and ZUBR beer.

What is most impressive should be the Marlenka honey cake favored by Czech President Milos Zeman. “Every time the president came for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, he would propose a toast with others and taste his favorite cake,” Zhang Peng said with a smile.

Crystal is the most famous exported product of the Czech. Traditional craftsmen wash and polish crystal with a dedicated modern machine. Through unique manual carving design, or adding some special hand-carved patterns, or sandblasting the surface, and then through other processes such as sawing, drilling and cutting, ordinary crystal glass will become immortal artworks.

Promoted by the “Ningbo spokesperson” with great enthusiasm, nowadays Czech crystal products have entered the markets of many cities and established a good reputation. 

Youth Business Innovation Park stimulates new business

“How is the business environment of Ningbo?”

“Who should I inquire for the visa and business registration?”

“What resources of CEEC can be introduced into Ningbo?”

Since the China (Ningbo) CEEC Youth Business Innovation Center (the Youth Innovation Center” was established officially in last June, its staff has been busy in answering questions from entrepreneurial teams and helping them to launch their projects smoothly.

After nearly a year of hard work, it has become a “land for young startups” spanning thousands of kilometers, which has tightly connected the entrepreneurs of CEEC with Ningbo. At present, the Center has provided consultation to 276 projects, of which 69 have been launched, and employed forty-two foreigners. When the China-CEEC Expo is coming, the “youth force” has been ready to boost the deepening of bilateral cooperation.

Every youngster who arrives here can feel the enthusiasm of Ningbo to encourage innovation and support startup. The Center has integrated the resources of startup tutors, provided startup counseling and training for the enterprises and talents, provided different services such as taxation, financial and legal services, translation and consulting, and adopted office rent preferential policy and tax support. Meanwhile, the Center has also equipped with a team of startup tutors made up of professionals such as technical experts, successful entrepreneurs, Angel investors, management experts, consulting experts, which will provide intellectual support to the enterprises, international innovation carriers, international technology transfer institutions and talents.

Since its establishment, the Center has successively received delegations such as the delegation of the Business School of Stanford University, the delegation led by former Czech Prime Minister, the delegation of African senior officials and the delegation led by the mayor of Kotka of Finland. It has spontaneously organized different activities such as Chinese painting class, startup lectures, visa and company registration lectures, and witnessed the awarding ceremony of the China-CEEC Agricultural Cooperation Association.

On the 8th China-CEEC Leadership Meeting held at Croatia in April this year, the Center was promoted as a typical case. During the negotiations with foreign investors in the event, it received more than twenty applications for settling in the Center. “This year the China-CEEC Expo elevates to a national event. We will accelerate market expansion and innovate our model to seek common growth,” The relevant person in charge of the Center said.

It was reported that in the coming three years, the Center will attract more than 200 CEEC enterprises, gather hundreds of foreign innovation talents and become a multi-cultural, multi-resource, energetic and characteristic center for the innovation and entrepreneurship of international talents and elites.