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Xinhua News on Zhengzhou - Luxembourg double hub strategy

Published Tuesday December 01 2015

ZHENGZHOU, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Henan, a province in central China that has no sea port nor thousands of factories churning out made-in-China goods, is striving to take a bigger bite in the 600-billion-dollar trade between China and Europe, with a booming air cargo network that links its capital city Zhengzhou with Luxembourg. 

Cargo volume since the beginning of the year through the route exceeded 50,000 tons earlier this week, one month ahead of expectations. 

As one out of seven cell phones in the world is made in Zhengzhou, iPhones and Huawei smartphones account for a big share of the cargo. 

Zhengzhou was approved as the nation's first air economic zone by the State Council two years ago and since then, it has put international trade as a top priority.

The city currently has more than 20 international cargo routes, linking Zhengzhou with Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia.

Cargolux Airlines International operates 13 flights a week between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou, serving more than 10 provinces in China and most part of Europe.

To make Zhengzhou and Luxembourg hubs for the China-Europe trade, Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment, a company owned by the Henan government, purchased 35 percent of the stocks in Cargolux in April last year.

With the national strategy of Belt and Road Initiative boosting cooperation between China and Europe, Henan aspires to make the air cargo route a crucial link between China and its biggest trade partner.

"Belt and Road Initiative provides Henan a very good opportunity for a new round of opening. We need to further extend the air cargo network so that it can cover the whole world," said Guo Gengmao, secretary of the Henan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The two sides hope that the annual volume of the Zhengzhou-Luxembourg air route can reach 200,000 tons within several years. To realize this goal, Henan needs to build a ground network for the air hub.

Cargolux Airlines International and Henan Civil Aviation Development & Investment set up an import company in Luxembourg to make sure that European goods can arrive smoothly at many stores in Henan that are owned by the two companies and dedicated to providing European goods.

The two companies also launched a joint ventures in June, aiming to build a global air cargo provider with Zhengzhou as its center.

Yu Xin'an, head of the Henan Academy of Social Sciences, said the boom of international logistics in Zhengzhou reflected the opening up of inland areas driven by the Belt and Road Initiative.

Improved transportation links between China and Europe will meet the needs of the rising domestic economy, as the country witnesses an industrial transfer from the advanced east to its landlocked interiors, with ever more multinational companies opening branches in its central and western areas.

This emergent inland internationalized economy underscores the urgency of opening up and enhancing interconnections with overseas entities.