A dialogue between various Eden district stakeholders and a Chinese delegation, took place on 8 October 2016 at Oubaai and could lead to stronger trade relations as soon as China buys into what the Eden district has on offer.
The Executive Mayor of Eden District Municipality (Eden DM), Councillor Memory Booysen, chaired the engagement and allowed a few local businesses from the agriculture, health and training sectors, to introduce their products and services to Dr Hongbin Cheng and his partners.
Dr Cheng is the Co-founder of New China Times Technology (NCTT), the Managing Director of Beijing Sinoera Tecnology (BST) and the General Manager in South Africa’s Taichi He. Dr Cheng’s close ties with the Chinese government is an advantage to trade and this will make links to China and South Africa easier. Dr Cheng proposed that a Communication Centre be built in South Africa, to enable efficient communication between the two countries. Communication centres have already been established in Korea, Thailand, Germany and soon in the Netherlands. It is envisaged that Dr Cheng will return next year (2017) with an extended delegation to continue discussions and to visit sites in the Eden district.
The George Executive Mayor, Cllr Melvin Naik welcomed the delegates and said the following: “We want to export, we want to import and we want to do business with other countries, but we have to put our money where our mouths are. I want you to engage with our people and when you come across local businesses that you can assist or help grow, please do so.”
Eden DM Executive Mayor agreed that there might be a level of difficulty when engaging with China via a national level and that engagements should be scaled down to a local level, especially between the more than 300 cities of China. “Those cities should talk to our cities,” and he boasted that “as you spend time with us you will find that this is a great region. We have highly educated people, we are politically stable, we have a good transport system – we are ready for business”.