Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, is a manufacturing hub strategically located in the center of the Northeast Asia. The largest metropolis of the region, Harbin serves as an important connecting point for Sino-Russian trade and is a hub for US investment in Northeastern China as well. Since 1990, Harbin has hosted the “Fair for Trade and Economic Cooperation” annually, consolidating its position as an economic and trading hub. This trade fair has helped the city develop foreign trade and economic & technological cooperation with a number of other countries all over the world, including a number of US companies, in addition to its existing trade ties with the Russian Federation. According to Dezan Shira, Harbin’s GDP had reach US $42.15 billion by 2008 representing a 13.5% increase over the previous year. In addition, the total value of imports by the end of 2008 was US $1.42 billion representing a 33.3% increase from the previous year, making it an excellent market for potential future growth.
Harbin is one of six comprehensive industrial bases established by the Chinese Government in the early 1950’s. As such, its heavy industrial manufacturing capacity includes machine building, power generators, minivans, light aircraft, light alloy materials, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. In recent years, the city has increased its production of biotech, advanced materials, and information technology. Harbin’s nutrient rich fertile soil called “black earth” makes it extremely valuable for cultivating food and other textile-related crops. According to Dezan Shira, Harbin is now a major base for production of commodity grain and an ideal place for setting up agricultural businesses. The city’s workforce is also widely regarded as being among the most academically, scientifically and technologically competent in China. This makes it an excellent venue to leverage low-cost science and engineering talent for R&D.
Harbin’s status as an economic hub is also bolstered by the large number of Fortune 500 enterprises present in the city, many of which are US firms. For example, General Electric, the world’s second largest manufacturer of wind turbines has now teamed up with China’s Harbin Power to manufacture and supply wind turbines for domestic use in China. The wind turbine market in China is a $13 billion dollar industry and US companies like GE are setting up joint ventures in the Northeast, to take advantage of the region’s industrial capabilities. Besides the market for alternative energy, other US industries are also well represented. According to the Economist Intelligence unit, General Motors Corporation has recently completed a factory in Harbin that produces pick-up vehicles and trucks. Given these recent forays by US firms into the Northeast region of China have been met with success, Harbin presents a promising market for US exporters.
o Harbin Economic and Technological Development Zone
o Harbin High and New Technological Development Zone
o Harbin Port
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