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Greenhouses to clean up Chinese 'zombie' companies
In the North-East of China, former state-owned industrial giants have been turned into weak and failing enterprises as a result of the economic downturn. The factories, mostly active in the production of steel and aluminium, are facing major overcapacity and are kept alive thanks to governmental support. This all in order to prevent mass layoffs of hundred thousands of low skilled workers.
China is now looking at alternative industries to create new jobs. "One of these new industries that provide room for growth is greenhouse agriculture", said Tony Huang of RCRO, a non-profit organization that helps Dutch companies to connect with Chinese stakeholders and serves as a gateway to China. Lately, the organization has been increasingly active in introducing Dutch suppliers of greenhouse technology at Chinese investors, industry bodies and other important stakeholders.
"The Chinese government is very interested in developing greenhouse agriculture for a number of reasons", said Huang. "On one side there is the growing demand for safely produced food and on the other side there is the need to decrease unemployment. While greenhouses will not be able to offer workplaces for hundred thousands of unemployed workers, intensive greenhouse agriculture definitely can solve a part of the question."
According to Huang, the Chinese are interested in Dutch technology in particular. "The Dutch are renowned for their expertise in high tech greenhouse agriculture. The Chinese want to learn from the best and they want to invest in the best technology available."
RCRO facilitates visits to Chinese horticultural businesses. Recently representatives of Dutch greenhouse manufacturers joined them for a visit to explore the possibilities of high tech greenhouse horticulture in Chinese provinces.
While China has already made significant investments in high tech Dutch greenhouse technology in the form of several pilot projects, Huang said that the country is now ready to scale up. "Over the last couple of years a number of pilot demonstrations and prestigious projects have been realized. China is now ready to translate these pilot projects into large scale operational commercial farms. Not small projects of 1 or 2 hectares, but larger scale operations, starting from 4 or 6 hectares in size."
The vegetables cultivated in the planned greenhouses are destined for the local markets, but at a later stage, Huang said that China's Northeastern provinces might also become key exporters of greenhouse produce to other countries, like Russia, and maybe even Korea and Japan.
Huang's organization RCRO has a large network of business and government relationships in both China and the Netherlands. Dutch companies are invited to participate and take advantage of their programs to establish successful trade relations in China. For more information:
Mr. Tony W. Huang
Yueda 889 Center, Unit 1107,
Changshou Road 1111, Jing An District
Shanghai, 200042, China
T: +86 21 6247 3771
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