AWAIT THE LANKAN GIANT – Chinese researcher
* Emulating S’pore in shipping, port services
* 56 percent rise in Chinese tourists to Lanka
Sri Lanka, due to its strategic position and lucrative natural
resources, is on track to become a major player in South Asia, China
Institute of Contemporary International Relations researcher Hu Shisheng
“The country, recovering after 26 years of civil war, is in dire need
of external investment to improve its infrastructure,” Hu said. Sri
Lanka is emulating Singapore by developing its shipping and port service
industries, he added.
“Also, Chinese entrepreneurs might want to consider transferring some
industries hampered by excess capacity and increasing labour cost,” Hu
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Ranjith Uyangoda said
buses decorated with scenic photos of Sri Lanka will go into service in
major Chinese cities. The Sri Lanka tourism authority has paid to deck
out 50 city buses each in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu with
landscape photographs of the island so that more Chinese people will
learn of its natural beauty, he said.
The ambassador encouraged Chinese visitors to explore the island,
known as a paradise in the Indian Ocean for its scenic beauty.
The number of Chinese tourists in Sri Lanka rose in the first quarter
increased by 56 percent year-on-year, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
marketing manager Guo Qinghua said.
The total number of tourists expected this year is 60,000.
Uyangoda said the two countries are expected to sign a series of
political, economic, cultural and tourism agreements during President
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit.
“The visit is significant with regard to the China-Sri Lanka
friendship, which is traditional and long-standing,” Uyangoda said,
adding that the meetings will lay a solid foundation for future
relations in politics, culture and the economy.
In late April, the fifth joint committee meeting on trade and
economic cooperation between the two countries was convened in Colombo.
China and Sri Lanka signed an agreement on economic and technical
cooperation worth $16 million and an agreement on a concessional loan -
with generous terms - of $147 million by China to Sri Lanka for the
Hambantota port project, according to media reports.
Analysts said the port is envisioned as a future refueling and
service point for cargo ships.
China Harbour Engineering Co and Sinohydro Corp jointly completed the
first phase of construction in November 2010.
Uyangoda said the second phase has just started and added that the
port will be the largest one in South Asia, capable of accommodating 33
vessels at any given time. “Construction of the Hambantota port creates
jobs for local people and helps to boost trade and economic development
of Sri Lanka,” he said.
The ambassador said Sri Lanka aims to transform from a developing to
a middle-income economy by 2016, doubling the GDP per capita to $4,000.
Trade between China and Sri Lanka soared to a record high of $3.17
billion last year.
Uyangoda said talks have been conducted on further tapping the trade
He hopes that more Sri Lankan products, like Ceylon tea, gems and
fish, will have better access to China’s vast market.
He also called on Chinese companies to keep close attention to the
numerous investment opportunities of infrastructure development in Sri
“Our tax policy is very flexible, and Chinese companies in Sri Lanka
are quite pleased with the investment environment,” he said.
Courtesy: China Daily