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FEATURE: China-Africa TEDA Investment Corporation is Economic Foreign Policy in Action
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The Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA) is world famous. Its reputation is such that other nations hope to replicate it. Sensing opportunities, the Chinese government is taking a carpe diem approach to economic foreign policy, and in this case, starting with Egypt.

One hundred and twenty kilometres from Cairo, in a vast new industrial park with port access to the Suez Canal, are dynamics at work similar to those on the Bohai Bay in the New Binhai District in Tianjin, at least relative to infra-structure, labour resources, diverse manufacturing, management, facilities, and shipping. Consider this a new oasis in the desert, just as TEDA was a sprawling swamp a few decades past,but now a center for production, trade, and therefore, a hub for international relations.
“Cooperation Making the World Better”, the marketing slogan for CA TEDA Investment Corporation, summarizes their intentions well. With twenty-eight companies now operating at the current site in Egypt, the success is attracting other corporate giants, and creating a need for further land acquisition. Others are taking note, including Morocco, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Zimbabwe, and even Columbia, in South America. Negotiations have begun concerning those possible scenarios.

That other countries want TEDA, once just an experiment in government led free-enterprise, as a planning mentor, partner, and model, confirms the value in pursuing such foreign policy ventures. These are ties that bindwith China, the fastest growing world economy, especially in economically difficult times

Our interview with General Manager Aimin Liu was educating, especially about the scale of development happening through this corporation linking China to the world through commerce while practicing TEDA style methodologies. It’s a dramatic Cinderella story, mixing Mandarin with Arabic, ancient cultures, and common interests which understand each other in English, building among other enterprises, an economic foreign policy.

Tell us about CA-TEDA. What is the mission?
altChina-Africa TEDA Investment Co., Ltd. was jointly established by TEDA Investment Holding Co., Ltd. and China-Africa Development Fund. CA-TEDA possesses registered capital of CNY 420 million, with TEDA Investment Holding Co., Ltd controlling 60%, and China-Africa Development Fund 40%. China-Africa TEDA is the primary shareholder of Egypt-TEDA Investment Company, the development company for the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone. The Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone is one of nineteen overseas economic and trade cooperation zones approved by the Ministry of Commerce of China. These important projects are supported and promoted by the Ministry of Commerce of China and Tianjin municipal Government.

The mission of CA-TEDA is “Relying on China, taking this first step in Egypt, facing Africa and even the whole world, China-Africa TEDA is marching on its way as the operator of international industrial zones.”

How did the corporation begin?
CA-TEDA was established in October, 2008 with up-front capital of CNY 420 million.CA-TEDA took the place of Tianjin TEDA Investment Holding Co. Ltd, and becoming the major shareholder of Egypt-TEDA Investment Company.

What impact are you having on the economy in Egypt?
The cooperation zone benefits the economy and people of Egypt. The enterprises in the cooperation zone provide job opportunities for local people, bring advanced management and technology, enhance the modernization of industry, and increase tax revenues and GDP of the local government.

Are there plans to pursue similar efforts in other African countries?
According to the overall corporate strategy of CA-TEDA, CA-TEDA is to establish other industrial parks in other African countries within 5 years. At present, Morocco, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) have put forward a request to CA-TEDA to establish industrial parks like the one in Egypt. We are conducting feasibility studies of investment in these African countries.

Why did Egypt want to follow a Tianjin TEDA model?
Following China’s reform and opening-up,Tianjin TEDA has been leading the cooperation trend around the world. On the coast of Bohai Bay arose the world’s most successful economic zone. Nearly one fourth of Fortune 500 enterprises world-wide have taken root here. With the booming economy, beautiful environment, and enjoyable lifestyle, thousands of Chinese and foreign enterprises co-exist here.

During the past 14 years, Tianjin TEDA has always been the best industrial park in China. Tianjin TEDA now has abundant experience and provides a unique model for the planning, development, construction, and management for other similar endeavors.
Describe the Suez location.
Located in the Suez North-west Gulf of Suez economic zone, the Egypt Suez Economic & Trade Cooperation Zone is adjacent to the Gulf of Suez, facing Sokhna Port, the 3rd largest in Egypt, and is 40 kilometres north from the southern entrance to the Suez Canal, 120 kilometres from Cairo, and 60 kilometres form Suez city. The canal crosses three continents, and connects the Atlantic and Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and Mediterranean. The cooperation zone is a traffic hub of the world. .

What are the types of corporate activities happening there so far?
Per the master plan of the cooperation zone, there are four major industries:
(1) Textile and Apparel Industry
(2) Petroleum Equipment Industry
(3) High and low voltage electrical equipment production
(4) New-style Construction Material

I know you are wanting to list on the New York Stock Exchange. What made you decide that?
Generally speaking, companies listed on the stock market have more standardized management and promising future development. At the same time, CA-TEDA can obtain more financing through the stock market.

Please comment on the current investment totals to date and expectations for the Egyptian site?
By the end of 2011, 28 enterprises have settled in the Cooperation Zone, with the total registered capital of approximately USD 300 million creating over 1000 jobs to date. The Cooperation Zone has established an oil equipment industrial sub-area featuring Honghua Drill and International Drilling Material Manufacturing Company, a household appliance sub-area featuring XD--Egemac High Voltage Equipment Company, and a textile and garment industrial sub-area with Non-woven Textile Machinery Co., Ltd as the primary enterprise. Thus, a relatively sound industrial chain depending on industry clusters has basically emerged.

altWhat motivates China, as a nation, to facilitate this economic bridge to foreign countries with the TEDA formula?

Establishing the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation zone creates a “win-win” situation. After 30 years of incredible development, Chinese export-oriented enterprises are now standing at a crossroads. The cooperation zone will provide a modern platform to meet the demands of Chinese enterprises’ “going out” and Egyptian enterprises’ upgrading. On the other hand, it also benefits the economy and people of Egypt by providing job opportunities for the local people, bringing in advanced management and technology, enhancing the modernization of industries, and increasing the tax base of the local government.

What are the major corporations now doing business in the Egypt TEDA?
As per the master plan of the cooperation zone, there are for major industries. The cooperative notion of TEDA has gained transnational recognition by the joining of several domestic and foreign enterprises with a total capital of USE 1 billion who are prospering in the cooperative zone. The petroleum equipment enterprises of Honghua drilling rig and IDM fill the gap in Egypt industry and promote the development of Egypt’s petroleum industry. Textiles and clothing enterprises such as CTMC have realized a large amount of export to the European Union and have become the model for China and Egypt in mutually exploring the international market. The high voltage electrical apparatus enterprises led by XD-Egemac have become the leader for Egypt’s high voltage electrical apparatus. Home appliance products enterprises with Chigo Air-conditioning, as the leading project, are exploring a brand-new market for the transfer of Chinese industry.

What other companies do you hope will join this effort?
We hope more and more large-scale companies who play a leading role in related industries will be invited to participate in the cooperation zone. At the same time, we will also concentrate on small and medium size companies that have development potential.

Tell us about your role as General Manager for CA TEDA.
I lived in Egypt for three years. At the beginning of this year, I came back to China and accepted my current role as General Manger of CA-TEDA, while serving as Vice Chairman and CEO of Egypt-TEDA Investment Company as well. In these positions I am responsible for the over-all strategy, coordination, and success of CA-TEDA and Egypt-TEDA in the existing cooperation zone.

Staff Attorney Steven Chen, tells us they are negotiating through “complex laws” to add two parcels of land totaling 4,500 square metres in a six to eight month time-frame. Sam Wei, Assistant to the General Manager, concludes “We are setting an example with TEDA. Our philosophy is: take the necessary time, moving step by step, to achieve our goals”. If the TEDA we know in Tianjin is the example, then cooperation does, in fact, make for a better world.

By Tad Miller

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