Beijing - The Chinese province of Anhui has positioned itself as the manufacturing and transport hub of the country.
The province has attracted investment from more than 100 countries and more than 70 Fortune 500 companies have invested here. It has "sister-ties" with 87 cities from 35 counties.
An international promotional fair for the province called "An open China: Splendid Anhui welcoming the world" was held in Beijing this week.
The event aimed to market the East China province's development, business opportunities and culture to the world.
The event, organised by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was attended by the international and local business community, foreign
diplomats and ambassadors and the media.
In his address Li Jinbin, party chief of Anhui, said the province was becoming the new frontier of China's inland regions' to opening up to international investment. It was an important part of several key national development strategies, including the Belt and Road Initiative and the Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone. "
During his visit to the province last year Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged Anhui to blaze a new trail for the development of central China, driven by reforms and innovation."
The picturesque province links China's eastern, central and western regions through a intricate transportation system of waterways, roads, railways and airports. It is home to traditional Huangmei Opera, tofu was created here and it is famous for tea production since ancient times. One of its biggest industries is home appliances.
According to Anhui news the province lies on the low reaches of the Yangtze River, also known as the "golden waterway of China". It has a number of ports on the river. The province is also between the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Economic Zone in the north and the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone in the south.
Head of the provincial development and reform commission Zhang Shaochun, said: "Anhui plans to become a pivotal region for the Belt and Road Initiative."
He said Anhui has launched a total of 106 projects for investment and trade cooperation with countries along the trade routes since the Belt and Road Initiative began in 2013. The combined value of such projects amounted to 962.4 billion yuan ($140 billion). More than half of the projects are under construction or already operational.
Last year 13 multinational companies from Belt and Road countries established operations in Anhui, their investment totalled US$760 million. In the same period, companies in Anhui set up 27 enterprises in countries along the routes, investing a total of US $73.27 million.
German automaker Volkswagen signed an agreement with Anhui's local automaker JAC Motors last year, the third joint venture in China. The venture will mainly produce electric vehicles.
In addition to the Sino-German facilities, Anhui has launched a number of programs to enhance cooperation with Belt and Road regions and beyond.
These programmes include the world's longest freight train line from Hefei to Europe, cargo flights to Los Angeles, the Hefei Cross-Border E-Commerce Pilot Zone and the Hefei Airport Bonded Logistics Center.
These facilities are expected to boost foreign investment and international trade to the province, and the country as a whole.
According to the Anhui Bureau of Commerce, a total of 121 foreign-funded projects were approved in Anhui last year. The actual foreign investment value in Anhui last year was US$1.24 billion.
Governor of Anhui Li Guoying said the province's economic development has presented new opportunities for international investors. Its central position in the country, adjacent to Chinese economic powerhouses like Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, which are all in the Yangtze River Delta region, also worked in its favour.
Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu are moving their manufacturing industries inland due to limited available space and higher operational costs closer to the coast.
Capitalising on its solid industrial foundation and its strength in higher education and high-tech research, Li said Anhui was in a good position to overtake advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries from Shanghai and Jiangsu.