Online tech 'connecting' State firms

Updated: Aug 14, 2020 China Daily Print
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Companies using livestreaming and other solutions for tangible progress in global ventures

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact travel agencies, airlines and shipping companies, centrally administrated State-owned enterprises have begun to announce progress on their overseas construction sites via online open events.

Beijing-based China Communications Construction Co Ltd launched an online event late last month to provide the public a chance to virtually tour Port City Colombo in Sri Lanka.

At the event, Indeewari Amuwatte, a well-known Sri Lankan TV news anchor, acted as a guide to usher people into the "City of the Future" and show them the construction and development of the project from various angles.

During the live broadcast, she explained and demonstrated the COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures adopted by construction companies at the worksite.

There are now 530 workers on the project following the government's pandemic prevention regulations requiring strict compliance. They have been on the job since the Sri Lankan government approved the resumption of work in early May, said Jiang Houliang, CCCC's general manager for the Port City Colombo project.

A mobile cabin buffer zone has been specially built to quarantine local employees returning to work. They are also provided with two free nucleic acid tests. So far, there are no COVID-19 infections at the site.

Amuwatte then visited construction projects including a marina, man-made canal, beach and vehicular bridge, explaining the construction progress and future plans of each area.

CCCC announced that land reclamation of 269 hectares had been completed and the entire port city, which integrates commercial, residential, leisure and entertainment functions, is expected to cover more than 5.7 million square meters, with more than 200,000 people working and living in the area.

After completion, the area will evolve into the new central business district (CBD) of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

The local government said a total of $1.4 billion was invested in the project's first phase and more than $13 billion was raised for the second phase of development.

As the largest foreign direct investment project in the country ever, the Port City Colombo project will create more than 83,000 jobs, Jiang said.

Eager to let the port city play a vital role like Dubai and Singapore do, the Sri Lankan government has been keen to build the port city into both a service hub and a commercial center, making the area an engine driving the country's economic and social development. An international financial center is also planned for the implementation of various preferential policies to attract foreign investment.

The large-scale urban development project is invested, constructed and operated by Beijing-based China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd, a CCCC subsidiary.

A key component of Sri Lanka's Vision 2030, Port City Colombo was selected as one of the "five new cities to shake up the future" by Forbes magazine in 2018.

During the construction, which began in 2014, Jiang said CCCC fulfilled its social responsibilities by organizing several public service activities, such as the "Fishermen's Livelihood Improvement Program" and "the Colombo Beautiful Beach Project", which have garnered popular local support.

CCCC is not alone. China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corp, also held a media event on July 24 to show the Lagos-Ibadan railway project in Nigeria and the life of workers at the site.

It was themed "Working Together for a Connected Future" and presented with vlog and cloud livestreaming. Yakubu Adogie, an external liaison officer with the project, introduced the railway and guided international viewers on a virtual tour around the entrance hall and dispatch center of Lagos Railway Station.

Under his guidance, viewers learned about COVID-19 prevention and control measures taken during the construction in West Africa.

As the first double-track railway in West Africa to adopt Chinese standards, the 156-kilometer railway runs between Lagos-a commercial hub and port city-to the city of Ibadan.

The railway is expected to be operational by the end this year. It will cut travel time between the two cities to less than two hours, facilitate the transport of commodities to and from Lagos and bring growth opportunities to areas along the line, said Li Depeng, a CCECC engineer with the project.

Lagos Railway Station, which is designed to accommodate up to 6,000 passengers, will be the largest in West Africa, he said.

Backed by mature digital technologies, solid construction experience, corporate social responsibility and future economic synergies, these open media events will be persuasive in improving the image of Chinese companies across the world, said Gao Lingyun, a research fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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