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Colombo most suited to be commercial hub: Port City Official

31 March 2017 12:54 pm - 16     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo is the most suitable to be South Asia’s commercial hub, Chief Marketing Officer of the Colombo Port City project which is being executed by the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) has said.

According to Indian Express, Chief Marketing Officer Liang Thow Ming has told that Colombo is not only South Asia’s cleanest and the most livable city, it is also the capital of a country which has no quarrels with any of the nations in South Asia.

That makes Colombo an ideal place to create and run a regional commercial hub, he added.

People from all parts of South Asia can come to Sri Lanka and do business here without issues relating to their nationality, Liang pointed out, in a veiled reference to problems between India and Pakistan which hinder free movement of goods, services and people between the two countries.

In fact, from the general acceptability point of view, Colombo could be the “Singapore of South Asia”, Liang added.

A Singapore national of Chinese origin, Liang said that the Colombo Port city (now renamed Colombo Financial City) will be an international commercial and financial hub with its own legal system based on the British model and labor laws attuned to the needs of modern businesses. It will have investments from all parts of the world and not necessarily from China.

However, the Financial City will be primarily serving the Indian market which is the single largest in the total South Asian market of 1.7 billion people, Liang said.

“Indians who want to park funds abroad could do it in the Colombo Financial City, rather than in Dubai or Mauritius, as Colombo is the nearest and also culturally compatible,” he noted.

Asked about India’s opposition to the project on security grounds, especially after the visit of Chinese submarines in 2014, Liang said that India has since dropped its opposition because Indian businessmen and government officials have realized that the Port City is nothing but a commercial venture in which Indians are welcome to invest.

He said he has met Indian entrepreneurs and even addressed the association of top Indian real estate developers at their conference held in Shanghai. The delegates expressed an interest in knowing more about the project. Liang also met the former Indian Deputy External Affairs Minister Shashi Tharoor, an ardent advocate of India-China cooperation.

According to Liang, it would cost a company about US$ 200 million to invest in land, buildings and business in the Colombo Port City. There are about 1000 top Indian developers out of which 100 to 200 may be able to raise US$ 200 million, he estimated.

However, the question is whether it will be worthwhile for them to shift to Colombo from India or Dubai to Colombo, Liang said. According to the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, four or five top Indian companies have expressed an interest in investing in the port city, but he would not name them.

Following the Presidential election in January 2015, in which president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who initiated the Port City project, was defeated, the new government stalled work on it for a few months to investigate some charges and also to negotiate the terms.

But after the modification of the terms, work is “going full steam ahead,” Liang said.

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  Comments - 16

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  • ANTON Saturday, 01 April 2017 11:18 AM

    THEN YOU CAN RENAME IT AS "CHINBO"

    Ahmed Saturday, 01 April 2017 11:39 AM

    do you remember some of our politicians wanted to stop port city project saying it can harm our environment ? sri lanka should not make stupid statements and lose huge investments just because sri lanka wants to satisfy some countries around it

    Silly Friday, 31 March 2017 02:01 PM

    However CHEC ignored legal issues in Port CIty until Jan 2015. The original agreement was illegal under SL law

    look4thoughts Friday, 31 March 2017 02:05 PM

    This this the levels of thoughts for one of the very best location in the globe and fastest growing region of planet, says lot about the folks who're part of the growth process.In a small country like "Ireland", which nothing to offer other than for folks or international community (rough seas rest of bad weather) they could extrapolate investments of excess of 350 billions, not millions "Billions", what could Colombo and this beautiful island could achieve.It certainly highlights the limitations of the "think tankers" and "Political Class" in the island.

    Sid Friday, 31 March 2017 02:18 PM

    Colombo is most suited because everything has a price here and politicians can be bought.Srilankans are being hustled and there's not a thing we can do about it.

    seqi Friday, 31 March 2017 02:17 PM

    wow......South Asias cleanest and most liveable city......yikes....but guess the air is better than Beijing and the food is well...fresher.....and the water is less poisonous.....No comparison with India...they still shit in the street..but dont praise too much cos itll go to to somebodys head.... via DM Android App

    Lord Wolfstein Friday, 31 March 2017 02:38 PM

    Mr. Liang does not know the Sri Lankans. He sets standards like in Singapore, which Sri Lanka can never meet. It is not an investor friendly country. As long as corruption and fraud are not eradicated, as long as politicians think only about themselves, as long as trade unions can paralyze the country and as long as governments daily change their opinions, this project is moribund.

    INDIS's EARs Saturday, 01 April 2017 12:59 PM

    "a country which has no quarrels with any of the nations in South Asia." and -"Colombo is the most suitable to be South Asia’s commercial hub," Would it be music in the ear's of INDIA ? -- definity not -as India never likes us to lead in any venture but only to be subservient to them.

    Don Simon Saturday, 01 April 2017 03:04 PM

    I wander what would think Mr. Ajith Kumar Dovel , the 5th National Security Adviser of India who supported us to Bring Yahapalanaya on this matter.

    Shelly. Saturday, 01 April 2017 04:27 PM

    Though very much late we are about to see in near future a New Sri Lanka. via DM Android App

    Triphektorr Thursday, 22 March 2018 03:30 PM

    Why do you want to rename port city?

    gobbaya Friday, 31 March 2017 05:20 PM

    thanks to 69 years of failed statesmanship and leadership post independence we now have to listen to this advice from a foreigner.case in pointhow the late lee kwan yiew made singapore the exact thing for South East Asia immediately after its independence. via DM Android App

    pras Saturday, 01 April 2017 06:04 PM

    tks GOTA for not only brining us peace but putting cbo in da map. what you did to this nation can never be equalled via DM Android App

    lokka Saturday, 01 April 2017 07:03 PM

    maybe much suitable for drug dealers and smugglers

    Mason Friday, 31 March 2017 06:13 PM

    No wonder Colombo is fine because our politicians have accepted your unsolicited Port City.

    ceylon Friday, 31 March 2017 08:36 PM

    if suitable why only talk.just develop.iy. via DM Android App


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