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【Canton Fair Story】Chen Mingzong: Canton Fair Facilitates Exchanges and Cooperation between China and Indonesia

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Guangzhou, May 6 (Xinhua) --“We used to import Chinese products through third-party countries. But with the Canton Fair, we can directly buy goods from China,” said Chen Mingzong, Chairman of Sumatera Utara Branch of Indonesia China Business Council, at the 125th Canton Fair. The Canton Fair plays a positive role in the development of companies and economic and trade relations between China and Indonesia.

Canton Fair Opens a Door to Bilateral Cooperation

Chen Mingzong, a native of Anxi County, Fujian Province, is the third generation of Indonesian Chinese. His grandfather started business in Indonesia from scratch. From grocery store to import and export of mechanical and electrical products, and then to building materials, now his family business has finally established a foothold there.

Wire, iron nail, small diesel engine, steel, galvanized plate... Chen Mingzong, Chairman of Intan Group in Indonesia, talked about products imported from China as if enumerating his family valuables. After attending the Canton Fair, Intan Group developed equipment that meets the needs of the Indonesian market by transforming products and equipment accessories imported from China, which injected momentum into its development.

According to a recent trade report released by the Central Statistics Agency of Indonesia, from January to March 2019, the trade volume of non-oil and gas products between China and Indonesia stood at 15.66 billion USD. Specifically, Indonesia imported 10.42 billion USD of products from China, rising by 2.5% over the same period of last year and taking up 29.0% of Indonesia’s total imports. China ranked first among Indonesia’s import sources.

“Our company imports 100,000 diesel engines every year.” According to Chen, machinery imported from China contributes to the development of rural areas in Indonesia.
In 2002, Sumatera Utara of Indonesia and Guangdong Province of China became sister provinces. As bilateral relations get closer, Chen Mingzong hopes that investors from Guangdong can promote the development of rural enterprises in Indonesia, as agriculture and animal husbandry in Indonesia are short of supplies currently. Indonesia is thinking about how to improve durian, mangosteen and other fruits and export them to China.

Build a Bridge of Bilateral Cooperation with Culture

 “I have been to the Canton Fair for at least fifty times.” Now 74-year-old Chen Mingzong is still active in the pavilions of the Canton Fair. He speaks fluent Mandarin and is busy negotiating with exhibitors.
How to better promote exchanges and cooperation between China and Indonesia? Chen Mingzong believes that it is very important to strengthen cultural exchanges. He himself has always been committed to promoting the integration of Chinese people and Indonesian ethnic groups.

“I hope that Indonesian Chinese can come back to China and see Chinese culture.”As the Chairman of a local Chinese people association in Medan, Chen Mingzong has always been concerned about Chinese language education.
Maha Bodhi School in Medan, a school that offers Chinese language education, is partly funded by Chen Mingzong. “If local aborigines think the tuition is expensive, we may exempt them from paying it.” Chen Mingzong’s grandson is also learning Chinese. Chen hopes to do his best to pass on Chinese education.

In addition to building schools, Chen Mingzong would hold summer camps every year to allow young Indonesian students to study Chinese culture in China. In addition, the local Chinese people association has reached cooperation with schools in China, where China sends 20 teachers to Indonesia every year.

 “I hope that the young people of the two countries can adapt to each other country’s life and culture, and thus drive more young people to learn Chinese culture in the future.” Chen Mingzong hopes to further enhance friendly cooperation between the two countries through exchanges between the two peoples.