Ningbo to ride wave of closer China-ASEAN ties
Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province is expected to benefit from closer China-ASEAN ties.
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) elevated their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership on Nov 22 at the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations.
Trade between China and ASEAN has skyrocketed 85 times since the two sides established their dialogue relations in 1991. Last year, China retained its position as ASEAN's largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years, while ASEAN became China's largest trading partner.
ASEAN is Ningbo's third largest trading partner, only behind the European Union and the United States. In the first 10 months of this year, the city's trade volume with the bloc hit 102.81 billion yuan (15.82 billion), up 16.9 percent year-on-year, according to official data.
Li Xujun, an official from the Ningbo municipal bureau of commerce, said that Ningbo's trade surplus with its three major trading partners is increasing, indicating that the degree of interdependence between Ningbo and the world economy has been deepening.
ASEAN is China's largest trading partner but is ranked third among economies in trade volume with Ningbo, and the gap is where potential lies, Li pointed out.
Ningbo and ASEAN are highly complementary in trade, according to Li.
Ningbo's strengths lie in fields including knitting integrated supply chain, petrochemical and e-commerce, while ASEAN possesses advantages in the processing of supplied materials.
Kong Zehao, deputy general manager of Shimaotong, a Ningbo-based international trade service provider, suggested local enterprises further expand their business presence in ASEAN via cross-border e-commerce.
Chen Jianxu, president of Bossgoo.com, a B2B e-commerce service platform headquartered in Ningbo, shares the same view.
Chen said that the capability to digitalize operations is a decisive factor in a company's future development in this time of pandemic, and that ASEAN is a good choice for foreign trade enterprises from Ningbo to tap new customers via digital marketing efforts.
Ningbo is China's first city to see cross-border e-commerce retail imports top 100 billion yuan, local authorities announced on Nov 11.