The discussion forum, Russia and Guangdong: Creating a Future Together, was organised by Guangdong Radio and Television in partnership with International News Agency and Radio Sputnik during the China Festival in Moscow, which marked the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and 70 years of Russian-Chinese diplomatic relations.
“Organisers brought together a great number of people that are extremely important to the development of both Russian-Chinese relations and the prospects for Chinese businesses in Russia. High ranking delegates could easily be the core of a meeting of any Russian-Chinese sub-commission that we hold on a regular basis", commented Alexei Volin, Russian Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Mass Media and Communications, at the opening of the forum.
Volin noted that 2019 is the year of cooperation between Russian and Chinese regions and “Guangdong Province days in Moscow will become one of the most remarkable and momentous events of the year.”
Gong Jiajia, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Russia and Director of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Moscow, said that the forum is “a sincere invitation” for Russians to build mutually beneficial links with the region of the Greater Bay Area and a driver of China’s economic development, technological innovation and cultural integration.
Gao Guoxin, Head of the Radio News Department and News Radio at Guangdong Radio and Television, said that Russia and China have achieved a new level of strategic partnership. In 2018, trade between the two countries grew to $100 billion and, Chinese experts predict, is to double in the next six years. Gao Guoxin pointed out that Guangdong Province is the wealthiest region in China. In 2018, its GDP exceeded ¥9 trillion and accounted for over 10 percent of the country’s GDP.
"This is why we are saying that Guangdong will play a key role in the development of bilateral relations", Gao Guoxin said.
According to Gao Guoxin, it is very important to strengthen cooperation between Russian and Chinese media. In 2019, the number of cooperating media outlets from both countries grew from 30 to 50.
He was supported by Vasily Pushkov, Director of International Cooperation at International News Agency and Radio Sputnik. He admitted that reports about China in the Russian media are not yet up to the level of the relations between the two countries. "Guangdong Province’s GDP is similar to Russia’s nominal GDP; however, we have very little knowledge of this region".
He continued that Sputnik broadcasts in 32 languages and publishes about 50,000 news items about China a year while its page on Weibo, the biggest social network in China, has over 10 million subscribers. “We try to offer more information about China because it drives new business connections".
It is equally important to work with official Beijing and individual provinces.
"Our media outlets must be more involved in bilateral projects, and promote public diplomacy together as well as share experience", Pushkov concluded.
Li Ang, Dean of the Russian Language Department of the Institute of European Languages and Cultures at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and Deputy Director of the Russian Studies Centre, stated that the Greater Bay Area includes the Xianggang Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong), the Aomen Special Administrative Region (Macao), and the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing, which are part of Guangdong Province.
The province having a population of over 70 million is a major platform for China’s reform and transparency policy where an international business environment is being created on a strong legislative foundation.
Wang Shunsheng, Vice President of GAC Motor and President of GAC Motor RUS, spoke about the company’s breakthrough in the Russian market last year.
“I am confident that our company will be successful in Russia, and establish a great reputation and expand its range of services to local customers".
The establishment of a university jointly founded by Lomonosov Moscow State University, Beijing Institute of Technology and the municipal government of Shenzhen was quoted by Chinese participants as one of the key cooperation projects between Guangdong and Russia. The project was announced in 2014 during the Russian President’s visit to China. The first five departments of Shenzhen MSU-BIT University, which specialize in philology, biology, economics, computational mathematics and computer science, and materials science, opened in 2017. Study programs are offered in Russian, Chinese and English and are based on Moscow State University’s education standards.