Situated in south-western China, landlocked Renhuai City has been given an economic boost with Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) expertise and connections helping to lay the foundations of a new industrial park.
Today marks the ground-breaking ceremony of a US$360 million (S$460 million) industrial park in Renhuai - the result of a collaboration between NTU and the growing city in Guizhou Province.
In February 2011, Associate Professor Wu Wei, Director of NTU's Nanyang Centre for Public Administration, led a group of Singapore-based companies to Guizhou to explore business and investment opportunities there. . This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) a month earlier between NTU and Renhuai to create a new industrial park in Guizhou province.
As a result of the study trip, Alila Holding International, a real estate company, decided to invest US$360 million to build an industrial park.
The bond between NTU and Guizhou is further strengthened today by the signing of another MOU whereby the Renhuai government will send two groups of Bureau Directors and Chiefs of Counties to NTU to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to manage the change and development that is taking place in the city. The first batch of 30 officials will arrive in Singapore on 26 June 2011 for a 10-day training programme. The programme, customised by the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration, will include seminars, discussions and institutional visits to key government and corporate organisations where the participants will learn from Singapore's best practices in economic development.
NTU President, Professor Su Guaning said: "China is developing rapidly and it is the coastal regions, with access to international trade routes, that have benefited tremendously. Renhuai City, in the south-western region of the country, is landlocked and is not blessed in terms of geography. But opportunities are opening up inland as China is starting to devote more effort to develop its central and southern regions. NTU is proud to be part of this pioneering effort to set Renhuai on the path towards greater economic growth as well as to be entrusted with the task of training the city's top government officials and introducing prospective investors from Singapore to Renhuai.
"Since 1998, the university has been training Chinese administrators through the Mayors' Class programmes. Our strong ties with Renhuai are testament to the relevance of our programmes in the context of Chinese administration and economy. The Nanyang Centre for Public Administration's Masters programmes are officially recognised by China as the definitive pathway for its government people to ascend towards higher office. We have reached the point where the Mayors' Class is a brand in its own right."
Mayor of Renhuai City, Ms Lou Bing, said: "Since the moment Renhuai City and NTU signed the MOU, it has been six short months to the moment we broke the ground for this industrial park. This could not be achieved without the care and great effort from our mentors from Nanyang Technological University. Renhuai City is landlocked and we face the fact that we are not near any international borders, any seas and any rivers, which limits our economic opportunities. But our cooperation with NTU has led to this historic breakthrough."
Apart from stimulating economic growth in Renhuai, the NTU centre has also initiated the "Star Love" Project - a child sponsorship programme to help needy and poor children continue their education.
Associate Professor Wu Wei, today presented a cheque of RMB 115,200 (S$22,000) to the Renhuai Municipal Party Communist Youth League to mark the birth of the project. A total number of 96 children aged between seven and 14 will benefit from the project.
Also, in an eventful week for NTU, three new NTU Alumni Associations in China.were opened in Guizhou (16 June), Anhui (18 June) and Jiangxi (19 June). This brings the total number of NTU alumni associations in China to 26.