James Quincy Liao gives an interview to the Shenzhen Daily on Friday.
IN 2008 James Quincy Liao, president of the Seychelles China Friendship Association, visited the 4th China International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF). Ten years later, he was invited by the United Front Work Department of the Shenzhen Municipal Committee of the CPC and this time he was impressed by the development of the event after visiting the nine halls of the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, the main venue of the ICIF.
"Ten years ago the cultural fair only had 40 subvenues and 20 countries, this year the number has risen to 60 subvenues and over 40 countries and regions and the exhibits are much more diverse, which is very impressive," Liao said Friday. "One can hardly imagine that Shenzhen, as a city of migrants, could have such capability for integrating and processing cultural industries."
Liao added that he especially liked five aspects of the event. First, he found the design of the booths ingenious and creative, with themes based on different provinces and industries. Second, the huge number of exhibits and great variety, including high-tech products and intangible cultural heritage items, was impressive. Third, the exhibits are not only introduced in written form but also via electronic devices. Fourth, the exhibition is interactive so that visitors can be part of it. Lastly, the number of exhibits and participating countries and regions has greatly increased.
As an overseas Chinese leader who has been in Seychelles for more than 20 years, he hopes that the organizer of the ICIF will designate a special hall for overseas Chinese to showcase what they've achieved in their adopted countries. He also suggested that the organizer invite major overseas service communities to conduct exchange and cooperation.
"China's reform and opening up couldn't have been so successful without the participation of overseas Chinese, so they should be recognized," Liao said.
Besides the main venue, Liao also attended the first Cultural Industries Cooperation Forum between the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao and the Cultural Cooperation Forum for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Liao is convinced that the Greater Bay Area will surpass other world-famous bay areas thanks to its large population, size and concentration of industrial clusters such as the logistics, manufacturing and transportation industries. Plus, the 11 cities in the area bring unique advantages.
Liao said the Seychelles China Friendship Association has signed an MOU with six provinces in China, including Guangdong, Hainan and Zhejiang.
As the first Chinese president of the association, who was appointed as Seychelles' investment representative in China in 2012, Liao told the Shenzhen Daily that his association aims to facilitate exchanges between different associations and between entrepreneurs in the two countries. It also promotes investment in the fishing, tourism, construction and catering industries.
Liao said in the near future the association will pay special attention to enhancing cooperation with the cities in the Greater Bay Area, particularly Shenzhen. Economic cooperation is a key during the process, and Liao said they may cooperate with BGI in the biological industry. The two sides will also expand cooperation in ocean culture, tourism and offshore finance.