HOdo jumps on 'Belt and Road' wave
The Board Chairman and CEO of HOdo Zhou Haijiang was invited to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing during May 14-15 and shared HOdo’s experience in the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) on a CCTV-2's program on May 16.
President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative aims to create a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.
Since then, more than 100 countries and international organizations have backed the initiative, with more than 40 signing cooperation agreements with China.
A total of 56 economic and trade cooperation zones have already been built by Chinese businesses in Belt and Road countries, generating nearly $1.1 billion in tax revenue and creating 180,000 local jobs. After the completion of all the facilities in 2020, the SSEZ is expected to house 300 enterprises generating 100,000 jobs.
The managing projects in developing countries also come with its challenges. Hodo Group needed to deal with locals who were mainly rural farmers and workers. “The locals used to tear down our walls the night they were built. Our constructions sites were frequently vandalized. After some investigation we found out that the locals were worried that once we came in, they wouldn’t have free land for herding”, said Dai Yuee, vice chairman of the zone.
Today the zone is welcomed by locals. The company’s chairman said channeling a message of social responsibility is key to turning public perception around. “Before the zone was set up, the locals earned on average $400 a year. Now many are factory workers, and they earn on average 1,000 dollars a year”, said Zhou Haijiang, chairman of the Hodo Group.
At the end of 2016, about 100 enterprises from mainland China, Europe, the US and Japan had been established in the SSEZ, mainly in the sectors of textiles, light-industrial products, accessories and other production operations, with some having come on stream.