“Huge synergies between Harbin and the Sverdlovsk Region“- Harbin Mayor

Song Xibin. Source: Press photo

Song Xibin. Source: Press photo

China was the main partner at this year’s edition of the INNOPROM international industrial exhibition. In an interview with RBTH, Harbin Mayor Song Xibin, the highest official in the Chinese delegation, spoke about the expo, his impressions of Yekaterinburg and plans for cooperation between Harbin and the Sverdlovsk Region.

RBTH: Is there something that particularly stood out at the INNOPROM exhibition?

Song Xibin: I think INNOPROM 2015 was successful. I was particularly interested in trams, electric vehicles and helicopters that are made in Russia. Harbin enterprises displayed new technology and innovative products, including remote control planes, accessories for power plants, and robots. Harbin’s major arms manufacturers and scientific and technological innovation enterprises participated in the exhibition.

RBTH: There is a proposal to hold the third Sino-Russian Expo in Yekaterinburg. What are your thoughts?

Song Xibin: We are very pleased with such an initiative. At the first Sino-Russian Expo, we hosted 11,000 participants from 64 countries. We’re expecting even more participants at the second Expo and believe that during this huge event we will be able to create a new platform for cooperation not only between China and Russia, but also with businessmen from other countries, who play an important role in the development of the global economy. Of course, we welcome our friends from the Urals in their endeavors, and will cooperate with them.

RBTH: 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the sister cities agreement between Harbin and the entire Sverdlovsk Region. What has been achieved so far and what are the plans for the future?

Song Xibin: There are huge synergies between Harbin and the Sverdlovsk Region. On July 9, I met Sverdlovsk Governor Evgeny Kuivashev. We agreed to implement the projects that were agreed upon at INNOPROM 2014. We also decided to hold a joint Sino-Russian Culture week in Harbin. In addition, we agreed to develop all-round cooperation in engineering, science and technology, industry, trade and the space industry. We are very pleased that the governor will visit us at the second Sino-Russian Expo.

The increasing number of passenger and cargo flights between Harbin and Yekaterinburg demonstrates our interest in the partnership. We also hope to implement projects such as building an e-commerce logistics center in Yekaterinburg to expand trade between the two regions.

RBTH: Harbin and the Sverdlovsk Region are industrial areas, but the development of the high-tech joint cooperation projects doesn’t seem to be in active mode yet. What are the prospects of cooperation in this area?

Song Xibin:  First of all, we need to increase the exchange of delegations at the highest level. The main problem is the insufficient exchange of information. Secondly, China is now implementing new strategic development plans, the so-called ‘Made in China 2025’. We need to find common ground in the field of new high technologies.

We also agreed with the Sverdlovsk Governor to hold seminars and presentations for Chinese and Russian businessmen in the near future. We invite Ural entrepreneurs to enter the Chinese market, in particular, Harbin. We also encourage Chinese businessmen to explore business opportunities in the Urals.

(This interview was condensed and edited for clarity)

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