CHENGDU, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Overseas businesspeople are turning their eyes to western China for business opportunities, as the 13th Western China International Fair (WCIF) opened in the western city of Chengdu on Tuesday.
As a major event of the ongoing WCIF, the 2012 Western China International Sourcing Fair attracted more than 13,000 buyers from 47 countries and regions worldwide, as well as other parts of China, said Li Chuncheng, deputy secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
More than 10 activities, such as trade talks and forums, will be held during the sourcing fair to provide an exchange and cooperation platform for the buyers, Li said.
As a forerunner in western China, Sichuan Province, where the WCIF is being held, has established economic and trade relations with over 200 countries and regions. Last year, foreign investment in Sichuan reached 11 billion U.S. dollars, making it competitive with many eastern provinces, said Li.
Governor of the State of Michigan Rick Snyder led a delegation of state government officials and businesspeople from Michigan to the fair.
"Transportation between western China and Michigan is getting better, and the two sides can strengthen ties in trade and cultural exchanges," Snyder said.
For many foreign businesspeople, the disparity between China's eastern and western regions has narrowed in recent years.
Doing business in western China is basically the same as doing business in the country's coastal regions, such as Guangdong Province, as western China is developing rapidly, thus creating many opportunities for cooperation, said Dennis A. Schultz, president of Fiber Char Corporation, a U.S.-based specialty wood products manufacturer.
"There is an established track record of how the fair has contributed to the growing dynamism of this region by establishing ties between companies not only within the region and China as a whole but also internationally," said Jan Mattsson, executive director of the United Nations Office for Project Services and UN Assistant Secretary-General.
Successful economic policies and the hard work of Chinese entrepreneurs and workers have played a major role in modifying the global supply chain, he said at the opening ceremony of the sourcing fair.
Corporation deals are expected to be signed at the six-day fair. Last year's fair attracted 945 billion yuan (150 billion U.S. dollars) in investment, according to organizers.
Having been held in Chengdu for 12 consecutive years, the WCIF is attended by more than 80,000 officials and businesspeople this year.
Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, opened the event.
In May 2000, WCIF was created with the progress of global economic integration and China's implementation of the strategy to develop its western regions.
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