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China Focus: Silk road leads to new opportunities
2014/05/22

XI'AN, May 21 (Xinhua) -- A fruit company plans to spend 30 million yuan (4.8 million U.S. dollars) on air-conditioned warehouses for apples in Kazakhstan.

Ren Junfeng, vice general manager of Shaanxi Baishui Hongda Fruit Industry Co., Ltd., announced on Wednesday that warehouses with capacity for 5,000 tonnes of apples will be in use by the end of this year, making exports to Central Asian countries easier.

Along with Shaanxi, Gansu Province and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, both on the historical Silk Road, produce high quality apples.

Shaanxi Province has plans on cooperation with other apple production areas in the suggested Silk Road economic belt to set up apple stores in Xinjiang and in Central Asian cities as stepping stones to Russia and Europe, according to Gao Wubin, director of the province's fruit industry bureau.

The exchange of apples and technology have become significant symbols of industrial cooperation between Shaanxi and Kazakhstan.

President Xi Jinping proposed a Silk Road economic belt on a visit to Kazakhstan in September. Xi also proposed a 21st century maritime Silk Road during his visit to Indonesia in October.

"We see potential to expand our business westward," said Wang Baoyin, chairman of Hongxing Milk Industry Co., Ltd from Fuping County, Shaanxi.

Fuping is the heartland of China's milk goats. Hongxing Milk has exported goat milk products to south and southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, for 13 years. Last year, it exported 200 tonnes. Wang's company will attend a trade fair in Kazakhstan in October in an attempt to promote their products to new markets along the Silk Road.

The planned economic belt will bring unprecedented business opportunities to China's halal food industry, said Wang Jinzhen, vice head of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

The value of halal products in northwest China's Qinghai Province hit eight billion yuan last year, with about 15 percent of that coming from exports. The number of halal enterprises in Qinghai has increased to 3,000 from 170 a decade ago.

The halal industry output reached 13.2 billion yuan in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in 2013, according to Wang Heshan, deputy chairman of the Ningxia regional government. "The government could use the Silk Road economic belt to make Ningxia into a base for halal industries," he said.

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