|Photo taken on Spet. 1 shows the outside of Xinjiang International Convention Center in Urumiqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The 4th China-Eurasia Expo opens here. (Xinhuanet/Yanting)
URUMQI, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- As the China-Eurasia Expo (CEE) enters its second day, discussions continue on China's ambitious plans for a modern Silk Road economic belt in the country's northwest.
The fourth CEE opened in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, on Monday, drawing the most participants in the event's short history with roughly 25,000 participants from China, 60 foreign countries and four international organizations.
The six-day international event has been credited with helping transform the fortunes of Xinjiang, attracting investments and projects to the region.
In 2013, some 1,000 domestic projects worth over 700 billion yuan (114 billion U.S. dollars) were signed at the CEE. Foreign trade volume totaled about 5 billion dollars, according to organizers.
With the building of the Silk Road economic belt high on the agenda this year, the expo is raising hopes that it will bring Xinjiang's economic development to a new level.
XINJIANG'S NEW ECONOMIC ENGINE
Previously known as the China Urumqi Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Fair, the expo was upgraded to an international event in September 2011 after 19 years as a regional fair.
The change elevated its popularity, with more business people from neighboring countries traveling to the region seeking opportunities. According to organizers, more than 30 countries took part in the first CEE, with foreign trade volume hitting 5.51 billion dollars.
The fair has gained increasing international popularity since. In 2013, the CEE welcomed seven global organizations alongside participating countries as it marked the third event.
Aiming to draw regional economies together to discuss development strategies, this year's expo will hold a host of significant forums to boost exchanges in terms of politics, economy, trade and energy, according to Li Jingyuan, head of Xinjiang International Expo Administration.
"Forums focusing on the Silk Road economic belt, technical innovation, China's homegrown Beidou Navigation System will certainly play a significant part in enhancing economic exchanges and draw more investments to Xinjiang," Li said.
He said discussions on Xinjiang's fruit industry would be particularly beneficial, as the region boasts a geographical advantage.
"Experts from China, Russia, Kazakhstan and others will exchange ideas on fruit plantation as well as fruit market potential, or even sign contracts, which will provide a golden opportunity for Xinjiang's fruits to go global," Li added.
But the opportunity for investors or those seeking investment is not limited to one industry, he added.
At last year's expo, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a semi-military administrative body, managed to secure domestic projects worth 221 billion yuan.
Pan Li, head of Xinjiang Tianhonglihao Investment Co., Ltd., invested a total of 10 billion yuan into a building project in Wujiaqu City last year. The project boasts tourism resources, commercial and residential areas, as well as entertainment venues.
"One of the reasons that I decided to invest in Xinjiang is that I see a promising future in this beautiful land," Pan told Xinhua.