Although one might expect megacities like Beijing or Shanghai to present a ‘first’ like this, it is the more modest northern city of Harbin to launch its new World Trade Center, the largest WTC on the globe. The WTC has strong ambitions to help boost Heilongijan province’s world leadership role in agriculture, Steven Lo, Executive Director of the new WTC Harbin, told Club China.
The city of Harbin in China’s Heilongjiang Province has found its cutting edge. When complete, the new Harbin WTC covers an area of 500 thousand square meters, with a total construction area of 3 million square meters. It is dedicated to becoming the largest world-class modern agricultural exhibition hall in Asia. It boasts state-of-the-art facilities including thousands of offices, trade counseling, trade information, market research, support, business management and professional services, as well as a modern agriculture development building and conference and exhibition facilities and services.
Agricultural centre of China
Harbin WTC is to become the agribusiness centre of China and the world by forging links with multinational agribusiness companies and other WTC centers worldwide. The center is currently very active in building multiple platforms in trade promotion, data sharing, and innovation incubation, providing comprehensive services for global agribusiness companies. To that purpose, Steven Lo (Executive Director of the new WTC) and his team have welcomed delegations of leading multinational companies from the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. With these businesses, local partners in Heilongijan Province have already reached cooperation agreements. The international enterprises are expected to bring food-processing and other value-added agribusinesses to Harbin.
Attract agribusiness companies
According to Steven Lo, WTC Harbin also aims to attract agribusiness companies from home and abroad to be part an agribusiness cluster, centering on technical innovation and high value-added products.
What is the potential of Harbin and its province?
Steven Lo: “Harbin is the largest agricultural city in China and is the capital city of Heilongjiang Province which is the largest agricultural province in China. To make this WTC the expert centre for agriculture/agritech in China, we have developed a series of collaboration platforms which will allow agribusinesses to use the WTC Harbin as a gateway to Chinese domestic as well as international agribusiness opportunities.”
What type of international companies do you want to attract?
“We’d like to attract international agritech companies which can help to solve the productivity issues of the agricultural economy in our province.”
“We at WTC Harbin have spearheaded a global movement – known as the AgMAC, Agriculture Member Advisory Committee – that encompasses more than 50 WTCs which are focused on agribusiness. This effort is first and foremost aimed at increasing the velocity of agricultural trade globally, allocating agricultural resources where they are most suited, and on heightening the profile of agriculture in the global economy.”
What are your plans for 2019?
“Our 2019 roadmap is ambitious; we will be putting forward global agricultural standards as well as a permanent showcase at our WTC in Harbin that will provide an experiential setting for global agricultural products and technologies to Chinese businesses and consumers. Will will also initiate a global agricultural summit to be held in Beijing that will address the issues of agricultural development in China and the Asia Pacific region.”
What can you offer the world in terms of agriculture?
“We can offer the world a gateway to the Chinese markets. We can further facilitate technology entering the Chinese market to localise, in order to be relevant to the Chinese economy. In the next three years, we would like to continue to develop and foster the showcase program so that we grow from the initial handful to around 30 regions of the world exhibiting permanently at our facility in Harbin. That way, we can become a true global window unto the world for Chinese agribusinesses and consumers. Further, we will be working on our abilities to increase networking opportunities for agribusinesses worldwide through the annual agricultural summit that we will be organising.”
What is your invitation to the world?
“In Harbin, we are excited about the future of agribusinesses given the current state of the world’s population. We invite all interested parties to partner with us in solving the issues of safety and productivity in the agricultural space.”