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Business by the Bay

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SMX Convention Center

Thousands of Chinese businessmen will gather in Manila this month— which could mean a windfall for local business.

Manila Bay will once again play host to Chinese traders this month; direct descendants, perhaps, of the sangleys who traded with colonial Intramuros and ancient Maynilad.

This time, however, commerce will be conducted, not on the shores of the bay, but at the SMX Convention Center for the 10th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC)from November 19-22.

According to Ambassador Francis Chua, RP Special Envoy for Trade & Investment, having the WCEC in the Philippines has been a longtime dream for the country’s Chinese Filipino businessmen.

The dream was born at the 8th WCEC in South Korea. But lack of funding and a suitable venue, as well as the delicate peace and order situation in the country kept the Philippines from winning the bid. It took the construction of SMX as well as a pledge of government support and security to finally seal the deal.

With close to 4,000 ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs from 43 countries expected to attend, the convention will be “an opportunity for participants to enhance business exchange and networking.” Dr Alfonso Uy, president of event host Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., says that the 10th WCEC will be a venue for Chinese businessmen to “discuss global economic issues and find business opportunities in challenging times.

The federation is also hosting the World Entrepreneur Expo 2009 in concert with the WCEC, giving Chinese entrepreneurs access to a wealth of Philippine products, services, and innovations, Uy says. With money to be made in Philippine agriculture, mining and tourism, delegates may soon be reaching for their checkbooks.

“We also look forward to showing the rich Filipino cultural heritage, scenic tourist spots, and warm hospitality of the Filipino people,” Uy adds, explaining that tours of Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan, and Bohol will also be arranged for delegates.

“Our involvement, though, is not just about business, but more about building a nation,” says Dr Lucio Tan, chairman of the 10th WCEC. “Our collective task goes beyond nation-building as we try to help shape our region and the rest of the world,” he says, pointing out a sentiment echoed by the convention’s theme of world prosperity through Chinese entrepreneurship.

The Chinese are coming back to Manila to shape our history again, and with stronger commercial ties with our historical trading partner could come a more vibrant Philippine economy. After all, as Ambassador Chua says, “Entrepreneurship is about job creation.” And jobs are what the region sorely needs.

Print ed: 11/09


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