Business Inroads: Construction giant's BRI motto: export the best, hire local and be sustainable
Updated 07:48, 30-Apr-2019
CGTN Global Business
03:01

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was brought up by China but built by many participants, according to Song Zhiping, chairman of the China National Building Material Group (CNBM). He said the CNBM's BRI strategy is comprehensive and the group always insists on contributing to the local economy, joining hands with local businesses and doing good deeds for local people.

"All these years our company has never been excluded or rejected by any local government in the Belt and Road countries, not to my recollection, because we bring them investments, technologies, collaboration, and most importantly, opportunities," the chairman said.

The CNBM has been to the Belt and Road countries to meet their demand for materials – the group helped build 65 percent of cement and glass factories in the Belt and Road countries during the past six years, based on Song. 

"And on top of that, we also invest in supporting facilities in the Belt and Road countries," he added. The CNBM has built 10 overseas industrial parks and 10 warehouses to ensure supply, and 10 international labs in Africa where production standards are vague. 

The construction giant also provides management and services besides building supporting facilities. "In Africa, we also have over 100 chain stores and help them manage about 100 factories. We are planning another 100 Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) projects for the Belt and Road countries. So it's a comprehensive strategy," Song listed.

Song Zhiping, chairman of the CNBM. /CGTN Screenshot

Song Zhiping, chairman of the CNBM. /CGTN Screenshot

Export the best, hire local and protect the environment

There are some doubts about the fairness and environmental protection related to BRI projects. Song considered these doubts as "misunderstandings."

"CNBM always insists on contributing to the local economy, joining hands with local businesses and doing good deeds for local people," the chairman emphasized, adding that the CNBM keeps exporting top-class capacity, hiring local and protecting environment.

"For example, we exported top standard production lines to our factories in Egypt, some of which are even better in quality than those operating at home. We never transferred any outdated capacity overseas. Also in that Egyptian factory, we have over 2,500 employees and only about 30 of them are Chinese," he explained with an example. 

When it comes to building the factories, the CNBM outsources as much construction works as it can to local contractors, and takes care of the natural environment as well, the chairman stated.

He raised another example. "The African chief was so welcoming after we built the cement factory that was to top environmental standards and employed thousands of locals," he said, adding that "a tribe chief in Zambia appreciated our local factory so much that he even came to me to offer more land for another one. But we said it's OK, that's enough for now."

Thanks to China's high-quality growth priority, Song believes that the CNBM will "transfer more technologies and high standard management and services to the Belt and Road countries, advancing their industrialization and urbanization levels."

And the CNBM will continue to uphold the inclusive and win-win principles – "always seek balance between supply and demand, never transfer any outdated capacity overseas, and would not force anything on the environment," the chairman told CGTN.