James Soong Visits SIP
James Soong, Chairman of the People's First Party in Taiwan, and his entourage visited Suzhou Industrial Park on the afternoon of Sept. 16, accompanied by Chen Yunlin, Director of Central Office for Taiwan Affairs.
Suzhou Industrial Park, a major project of cooperation between the governments of China and Singapore, was started on May 12, 1994. For 11 years, SIP has been growing at an average annual rate of 45%. The total import and export volume this year hit nearly US$ 40 billion. SIP has become one of the fastest-growing development zones with coordinated development and strong competitiveness in Asia.
Wang Rong, Secretary of Suzhou Municipal Party Committee, outlined the great changes in Suzhou that have taken place since the reform and opening up, and he told the guests that while preserving the 2,500-year-old ancient city, the people of Suzhou built the industrial park on the east with an area of 70 square kilometers and the hi-tech technology development zone on the west, so that Suzhou today consists of the ancient Suzhou, the new Suzhou, and modern Suzhou, which is SIP.
Wang Rong also praised the Taiwan investors for their contribution to the development of SIP, giving reference to the investment in SIP from Taiwan, which comprised 1/5 of the total, next only to EU and the US.
Director Ma Minglong of SIP Administrative Committee gave James Soong a briefing on the current situation in SIP, and told the guests that SIP had maintained high-speed growth from January to August this year at an increase rate of 20 to 40 percent in various economic targets. Over 50 multinational corporations from the Fortune 500 have invested in SIP, and the comprehensive strength of SIP is among the most advanced development zones in China.
After the briefing, James Soong made an off-handed speech, saying: "My mother is a native of Suzhou, and I feel proud of the development of Suzhou. When I return to Taiwan, I'll tell mother that her hometown is indeed worth going to see."
Every now and then, James Soong would prop up with some phrases of Suzhou dialect to express his elation. He said, "Suzhou is showing promising prospect for unlimited growth, and it has set a good example for other cities in keeping the traditional culture while achieving economic development."
After his visit to SIP, the "modern Suzhou", he showed keen interest in touring the Humble Administrator's Garden, Han Shan Temple, and Shantang Street, all of them being famous spots of cultural heritage. He and his entourage stayed at East Hill Township, where a traditional cultural performance of Kunqu Opera and local ballad singing was planned for the guests.