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Ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs heading to Seoul
Oct 07, 2005
A convention for ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs from all over the world will take place in Seoul early next week, with the aim of discussing the enhancement of ties with their Korean counterparts.
The eighth World Chinese Entrepreneur Convention, to run from Monday to Wednesday, is expected to attract over 2,500 ethnic Chinese businessmen from 28 nations around the world.
The Ministry of Commerce, which is organizing the event, hopes to attract to Korea some of the $2 trillion of investment capital estimated to be at the disposal of the overseas Chinese business community. Officials from the ministry said that such funds have recently started gravitating from Southeast Asia toward Northeast Asia, primarily Korea and Japan.
The World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention is held every two years to bring together overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to enhance economic cooperation.
Proposed by the former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kwan Yew in 1991, the idea was eagerly backed by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, as China was then in urgent need of overseas Chinese entrepreneurs' capital to stimulate its economy.
The Chinese population outside mainland China is estimated at 60 million.
Although predominantly based in East Asia, ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs have a business network spanning 130 countries.
There are around 500 Chinese-run large corporations of over $100 million in market value each in East Asia, of which 223 are based in Taiwan, 133 in Hong Kong, and the rest in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
However, Korea has no major Chinese-owned companies, a fact often put down to Korean ambivalence toward foreigners running businesses here.
"Chinese entrepreneurs have held negative views about Korea because ethnic Chinese businesses have generally not been able to enter the mainstream here," Commerce Minister Lee Hee-beom said.
At the convention, various investment seminars will be held on topics such as leisure, tourism and social overhead capital.
Chinese entrepreneurs have a major interest in Korea's advanced Internet technologies and biotechnologies, the organizers said.
The convention will install 150 booths for domestic and foreign companies offering trade-related consulting, expected to result in contracts worth about $800 million.
Prominent participants in the gathering include Huang Mengfu, chairman of the Association of Chinese Industry and Commerce; Ian Fok Chun-wan, chairman of the Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce; Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of Legend Holdings Ltd., and Chen Xianglin, head of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.