Guangzhou airport puts RMB30bn into e-commerce projects

Guangzhou’s airport is not just an airport. It is an Airport Economic Hub that includes a train station and a container station. This economic hub recently launched 26 projects, expected to cost RMB30 billion, to speed up the construction of a Greater Bay Area “cross-border e-commerce transport hub”. 

As can be imagined, the projects have dull-sounding names: 10 are being done together with airlines and “logistics ecommerce heavyweights” such as Alibaba and JD.com, to build production facilities and a distribution center. Others include an aircraft maintenance base, a flight simulation R&D center, and a manufacturing and training center. These projects are expected to significantly boost the throughput of commodities at the Guangzhou Airport Economic Hub. 

The airport zone’s management has not been sitting around on its hands until now, of course. It had previously launched e-commerce initiatives with companies such as Suning, Vipshop and SF Express, involving investment of more than RMB15 billion, and these will come online gradually in the next three years. The second phase of the Airport Free Trade Zone, meanwhile, will add one million square meters of storage space for overseas logistics. The bonded zone will add more than 200,000 square meters of e-commerce related space and facilities. 

The Guangzhou Airport Economic Hub, which includes Guangzhou North Railway Station and the Datian Railway Container Station, is expected to reach RMB100 billion of total goods throughput within the next two years. It is currently on a tear, thanks to some liberal policymaking by the local and provincial governments. The bonded zone has the same regulation as a Free Trade Zone and has so far attracted more than 1,000 enterprises. Total trade value of cross-border e-commerce goods alone last year was more than RMB8 billion, double what it did in 2017, ranking first nationwide for the fifth year in a row. 

The bonded zone is known for a highly efficient Customs clearance procedure and low operating costs. Last year, the total Customs clearance time for imports shortened 29% while the time for exports shortened 21.42%, ranking first and second compared with other major airport hubs in China. 

The Administration Committee of Guangzhou Airport Economic Hub plans to build the entire airport zone into a “commercial circle” with all the functions of aviation transport, exhibition, commerce and – yes, dear reader, you guessed it – cultural tourism. 

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