David Deng. (Photo by Edmond Tang / China Daily)
State-owned conglomerate China Merchants Group Ltd (CMG) has been accelerating its pace of internationalization for the past ten years, and will continue seeking opportunities in the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative, as well as in external and internal asset restructuring, to improve efficiency, David Deng, general manager of the group’s Capital Investment and Management Department, told the China Daily Leadership Roundtable special session themed “The prospects of the East Asian market in the new global economy”.
He said their overseas projects are in line with the B&R strategy, adding that CMG is already involved in areas like infrastructure investment, logistics services, industrial park and financial services in projects in Belarus, Sri Lanka and East Africa, playing a pioneering role in the China-led initiative.
The flagship of the group’s industry platform is China Merchants Port, which operates 49 ports in 19 countries and regions, while its logistics sector has 96 operating sites in 38 countries and regions.
Deng said they have created a “PPC” (port-park-city) model and are exploring ways of using it to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as the B&R countries and regions.
The “PPC” model, he explained, is based on their experience in Shenzhen’s Shekou Industrial Zone, which is to develop the ports business and get enterprises to set up branches in the park next to Shekou Port to export supplies, and to restructure the traditional functions of ports for commercial and residential use. CMG has been the solely developer of port operations and related logistics and infrastructure investment in Shekou since 1979.
Established in 1872 and based in Hong Kong, CMG has overseas assets amounting to 591.2 billion yuan (US$87 billion) — about 8.6 percent of its total assets — as of late last year, according to the company. Its overseas business covers six continents, involving ports, shipping, logistics, financing and trading.
Chinese mainland enterprises have been stepping up their internationalization effort in recent years, acquiring vast assets in other countries. Deng said they’re also scouring for projects the group specializes in.
He said Hong Kong, as a global financial center, has its own advantages, including capital and talents, and under the mutual market strategies, including the stock and bond connects, connectivity between the mainland and Hong Kong will be strengthened and mainland companies with abundant capital will continue to invest abroad.