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CEZA signs property deals with Chinese firms

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THE Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) said it signed deals with Chinese businesses planning to invest $3.9 billion in projects first unveiled at the Belt and Road Initiative Forum in Beijing.

In a statement Tuesday, CEZA said it signed seven memoranda of understanding (MoU) with and received two letters of intent (LoI) from Chinese companies, mostly seeking to engage in real estate projects.

Among the companies CEZA signed MoUs with was Xiamen-based Fong Zhi Enterprise Corp. which proposed to develop a $2-billion smart city on Fuga Island in Aparri — a beach destination.

A strategic cooperation agreement was also signed by Fong Zhi Enterprise and Isla Fuga Pacific Resorts, Inc., owner of the Fuga Islands.

Fong Zhi Enterprise will also set up an agricultural breeding center and soil improvement project, build medical schools, promote culture and tourism and establish a high-tech industrial park, CEZA added.

The investment promotion agency said other MoUs involve Shanghai Jucheng Group, which is planning a $150-million township and manufacturing plant for lithium batteries; Pai Hao Investment, with a proposed $500 million upgrade and expansion program to accommodate wide-body aircraft at the Lal-lo International Airport; and Shenzhen Dawah Real Estates, which will partner with the Apsaras Group Ltd. to establish a $100-million marina, watersports training center and private villas.

CEZA also noted China Zhejiang Guannan Group’s plan to put up a $500-million “green” textile production hub for global distribution; Golden Millennial Quickpay Inc. and its proposed $100 million fintech hub in a 10-hectare property near the proposed CEZA Global City; and Yatai International Holdings’ planned acquisition of a property to build a $500 million satellite city.

The letters of intent involve the Baoye Construction Group and Tian Gong Construction Group, both interested in developing a resort, a golf course and other leisure and shopping facilities.

CEZA Administrator Raul L. Lambino said the signing event was “highly successful (and) brought new investment and empowered countries, including the Philippines, participating in China’s Silk Road project.”

In 2018, investment pledges at CEZA totaled $8.131 billion, the highest in more than two decades, with projects related to cryptocurrency, blockchain and online gaming driving the growth.

CEZA’s revenue more than tripled to P706.512 million because of the new investments. — Janina C. Lim

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