Guangxi is focused on building a major international passage to ASEAN and a new strategic fulcrum for the opening-up and development of southwestern and southern central China, as well as forming an important gateway for the organic convergence of the Belt and Road Initiative
Guangxi is one of the five ethnic minority autonomous regions in Mainland China with 12 native ethnic groups including Zhuang, Han, Yao, Miao, and Dong. It has a total population of 56 million and a land area of 237,600 square kilometres. In 2019, Guangxi’s GDP reached RMB2.123trn, and recorded a total economic volume equivalent to that of Vietnam and Myanmar.
Guangxi is situated along the coast, the border and the Xi River, and is the only province in Mainland China that has both land and sea access to ASEAN countries. It has a coastline of 1,595 kilometres, a land border of 1,020 kilometres, and eight of its counties (including cities and districts) border Vietnam. Known as a “golden waterway”, the Xi River runs through the province and reaches as far as Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao.
Rich natural resources
Guangxi is well-known for its beautiful mountains, clear waters and natural beauty. It is among the country’s top provinces with the most abundant tourism resources. It is also an important southern subtropical fruit base, biomass energy base, strategic timber reserve base and key non-ferrous metal production zone in Mainland China. Its reserves of minerals such as aluminium, manganese, tin, antimony and indium rank first in the country, while its output of sugar cane, cocoon, wood, cassava and jasmine also ranks first.
Beautiful natural environment
The forest coverage rate of the whole region is 62.31 per cent, placing it at the forefront of the country. “Beautiful mountains, clear waters and natural beauty” are not only major attractions of the province, but it has become a registered “brand name” of Guangxi. There are 76 longevity towns in Mainland China and 26 are located in Guangxi alone, making it the province in Mainland China with the most longevity towns. Among them, Bama County has gained worldwide fame as it has been called “the longevity capital of the world”.
Strong industrial base
Guangxi is an important industrial base in southwestern China, with 10 industries with main operating revenue exceeding RMB100bn. Meanwhile, the province endeavours to establish a number of industrial bases with important influence in the country, including a high-end chemical new material base, a copper aluminium steel new metal material base, an electronic information equipment manufacturing base, an automobile machinery equipment production base and a calcium carbonate new material base.
Guangxi boasts a vast network of high-speed railways, expressways and civil aviation transportation. The province has 1,792 kilometres of high-speed railways and 6,803 kilometres of expressways, as well as four dedicated airports. All administrative villages can be reached by paved roads and by bus. The annual cargo throughputs of Beibu Gulf Port and the port of the “golden waterway” in Xi River have reached 300 million tonnes and 170 million tonnes, respectively, while the cargo throughput of the Changzhou Water Conservancy Hub ship lock has totalled among the highest in the country. In addition, the Nanning urban rail transit was completed with an operating mileage of 108 kilometres.
Nanning, the capital of the province, is the permanent venue of the China−ASEAN Expo. The Nanning Channel has become a resounding business card for Mainland China, ASEAN and countries along the Belt and Road to facilitate economic co-operation.
The central government attaches great importance to the development of Guangxi. Following the upgrade of the establishment and development of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone to a national strategy in 2008, the country has successively approved the implementation of the Pearl River−Xi River Economic Belt Development Plan, the Zuojiang and Youjiang Revolutionary Area Revitalisation Plan, and the construction of Guilin International Tourist Resort. Development of Guangxi is thus fully covered by national strategies. In 2015, President Xi Jinping gave Guangxi the new mission of three major positionings: to build a major international passage to ASEAN, to build a new strategic fulcrum for the opening-up and development of southwestern and southern central China, and form an important gateway for the organic convergence of the Belt and Road Initiative.
In recent years, the central government has supported Guangxi’s participation in the construction of a new land and sea channel in the west, and has approved Guangxi’s construction of the China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the ASEAN-oriented financial open portal and the China−ASEAN Information Port. These projects have ushered Guangxi to the crest of a new opening-up tide.
At present, Guangxi is implementing the new mission of three positionings and fulfilling the new five solid requirements proposed by President Xi. It is striving to seize new opportunities brought by its opening-up and economic development, and is accelerating the establishment of a new structure to connecting its neighbouring countries. Guangxi has now become one of Mainland China’s top provinces with the greatest investment value and potential.
The China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone
The China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone is the first free trade zone established in the border area, and is also an open zone with the highest level of openness, the most preferential policies, and the most influential in the province. It is a major initiative of the Chinese Government to promote greater and higher levels of opening-up. The objective of the construction of the Pilot Free Trade Zone is to build a high-standard and high-quality free trade zone that facilitates convenient trade and investment, comprehensive financial services, and safe and efficient regulations. It plays an outstanding role with far-reaching influence to foster co-operation between Mainland China and ASEAN. Unquestionably, there are huge business opportunities for investing in China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
The New Western Land-sea Corridor, located in the inland area of western Mainland China, is an international trade channel and a cooperative development channel connecting the Belt and Road and facing ASEAN and the world. While its north connects to the Silk Road Economic Belt, its south connects to the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Mainland Southeast Asia. It is also connected to the Yangtze River Economic Belt. Guangxi, as an important hub of the New Western Land-sea Corridor, has an extremely important strategic position for coordinating regional development with the Corridor. At present, Guangxi is strengthening the coordination of land and sea networks, implementing policies and projects for “smooth, efficient and economic” development, strengthening the two-way opening of land and sea and making strong efforts to build the most convenient estuary and land gateway for the New Western Land-sea Corridor.