China's Guangxi reaps cross-border trade bonanza with influx of goods and travelers
Soon after the Youyiguan border crossing in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region opened for customs clearing, a procession of trucks carrying goods like fruits, electronic appliances and agricultural products from ASEAN countries began streaming into the world's second-largest economy.
Simultaneously, vehicles laden with textiles, auto parts, and steel moved in the opposite direction, facilitating seamless trade between the regions.
The daily traffic capacity of Youyiguan Port, one of China's most vibrant land ports for imported and exported fruits, located at the China-Vietnam border in Pingxiang City, has now fully returned to the pre-pandemic level after nearly three years of partial closure.
In the first half of 2023, the total value of Guangxi's cross-border trade hit 62.6 billion yuan (about 8.71 billion U.S. dollars), up 126.3 percent year on year, accounting for 18.5 percent of the region's total foreign trade value, customs data showed.
Imported durians, characterized by their pungent aroma and thorny texture, were neatly lined up on custom platforms, awaiting clearance by customs officials.
Upon completing the inventory of a fresh batch of durians, Nong Liqing, the general manager of an import and export company based in Pingxiang, swiftly coordinated the transportation of the spiky fruits to her clients in the neighboring Guangdong Province and east China's Zhejiang Province.
"We imported over 1,000 containers of durians in the first half of this year, doubling the amount for the same period last year," said Nong, adding that currently, over a dozen containers of durians are imported every day.
In the first six months of this year, Youyiguan Port witnessed an astounding 180 percent increase in car trips compared to the previous year, with nearly 200,000 journeys made. This remarkable surge in vehicle traffic is equivalent to the total recorded for the entire year of 2022, with the port experiencing a substantial influx of vehicles crossing its gates from both sides of the border.
"After China downgraded its COVID-19 management early this year, Guangxi's customs clearance capability has been rebounding massively, and the scale of its border trade has also climbed up steadily," said Yang Baoqing, deputy director of Nanning Customs.
Holding a 15-day tourist visa, Hoang Thi Tuyet, from northern Vietnam, arrived at the Youyiguan border crossing on the afternoon of July 19, and it only took her a few minutes to get the paperwork sorted at the checkpoint.
"I visited China as a tourist a few years back, but this time, I plan to stay for around 10 days," said Hoang, "I will visit some friends in the city of Wuzhou, and take a tour around Pingxiang on my way back to Vietnam."
Guangxi has seen a growing influx of travelers coming in through its border with Vietnam since the beginning of this year as cross-border tourism has been rebooted and started to pick up steam.
Official data from Youyiguan Port shows that between January and June, the Youyiguan border checkpoint handled over 604,000 passenger trips, up 180 percent year on year, while the Dongxing Port, which borders Vietnam, saw over 1.53 million passenger trips.
According to Fan Guoqing, the director of culture, sports and tourism bureau of Dongxing, with the total number of tourists reaching 5.61 million, the city experienced explosive growth in the tourism sector, raking in 5.66 billion yuan in revenue in the first half of this year.