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Going Out or Holding on at Home?

On August 14th, I was invited to present the inaugural ceremony of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the new President of Kyrgyzstan Public. There was bright sunshine and gentle breeze on that day, and there gathered a lot of guests. In the performance at night, they even arranged some Chinese songs on purpose.

I was invited not because I myself am an important person, but because we had a dream to go out. Since last year, we integrated the tour resources in Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture, Ka Shi, Aksu, Hotan and Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, and in the following plan, we will enter into the South Asian countries such as Pakistan, India and Kyrgyzstan, to form an international tourism system. Ysyk-Kol in Kyrgyzstan is a famous place for holiday leisure in Europe, not far from Suyab, the hometown of Li Bai. We can get there by bus from Ka Shi within a day. The lake is 200 kilometers long, and 80 kilometers wide, with an average depth of 800 meters. We were astonished by the beauty of the lake and the deficiency of local tour resources, so we intended to build a resort there for both Chinese tourists and European tourists. The leaders of the South Xinjiang and the national leaders of Kyrgyzstan Public all supported the plan. Then I just contacted with personnel of all circles. During those days, I might have drunk nearly a ton of Vodka, and got quite familiar with some Russian folk songs, and would not get out of the tone, and I could even perform some Kirgiz dances. At last, led by the ambassador in Kyrgyzstan, we negotiated with the then Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev who is going into exile now, and finally signed an investment agreement.

After the agreement was signed, the troubles came successively. At first the Russian army said that the site was their torpedo testing base, and then the American and the Japanese wanted to know the details and the plans about the investment. Just when I was at a loss, the Opposition in Kyrgyzstan began to attack the government, claiming that the government sells their land to China. What’s more interesting was that the headline in the newspapers of Masco was about China’s plan to build a navy training base in Ysyk-Kol, which made the secretary to the mayor purposely went to see whether it was true or not when he visited Kyrgyzstan.

Thus a investment in a project became a international issue, while I, a boss of a private company in Beijing became the representative of Chinese government, which was really very confusing.

Later, I was not dared to visit Kyrgyzstan any more. I kidded that I was afraid of being sent to public trail, in fact, I was bitterly dissapointed in my heart.

Our company is only a common company which is even unknown to many people. Going to invest in Kyrgyzstan is only to satisfy the strategic demands of the company. Unexpectedly the investment was attached the political tag, while I should became someone related to international politics, which is really very queer. Thinking deeply, the environment for Chinese enterprises to go out is really not favorable. There seems to be walls everywhere blocking the way. Of course, that is because of the international political atmosphere, in which some countries might be afraid of the development of China.

On the contrary, the privately-owned industries also can’t have a favorable environment at home. Under the macro control, every company struggles to exist. Objectively speaking, there are more miserable ones than indifferent ones. The businessmen in the trade of the real estate or steel used to be the objects of condemning by the people. It is hard to hold on at home, and it is limited when going out, mistaken as the spy of the country or pioneer of economic expansion. Then how could the enterprise find a way to exist?

Being disheartened, I thought it would be better to hold on at home. The macro control might be phrasal, and it is too difficult to go out. Anyway, at home, one could find a way to live on. After all these years’ developing, those living on should have some unexpected tricky moves. If we persist, maybe someday we could stand up and become master of our own fate. As to the intention to go out, of course it can’t be eliminated. China has opened to the whole world, and the people of other countries all come to make money in China, then why can’t we go out to make money in these countries?

I am not able to manage those political affairs, but my interest to do business out of China has been aroused. Since we have survived under successive macro control, we should also live better in other countries, so I just refuse to give in.

Several days passed since I came back from Kyrgyzstan. One day, I suddenly receive the phone call from the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, informing me of the news that the new president advocated the development of tourism in their country, and sent representatives to the embassy, intending to negotiate with Zhongkun on the investment in the lake. The Embassy asked for my opinion.

I told them that my investment intention was still the same as before.

 

 

 

August 24th, 2005