Journey witnessing China's opening-up begins in Chengdu

File photo/Zhang Jian (NBD)

Mar. 4 (NBD) -- Originating from southwest China's Chengdu, traversing Leshan and Yibin of Sichuan province and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, passing through Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia, and finally reaching India, the Southern Silk Road was the oldest trade route connecting China with the outside world.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, National Business Daily ("NBD") sent out 11 special reporting teams, hitting the road from Chengdu and following the footprints of caravans to retrace the ancient silk road which has greatly facilitated the exchanges between China and the outside world.

By having a face-to-face conversation with time-honored history, NBD is telling stories of trade along the land and maritime routes, and through looking into the prosperous future, NBD is witnessing the opening-up of China and the world at large.

The world's 90 percent of trade is carried by maritime transport. The logistics predicament has long restricted the opening-up and development of the western region of China.

Eight years ago, cargo trains from China began arriving at European cities, linking inland China with Europe. In recent two years, the China-Europe freight train service has started to extend southwards. It takes 2-4 days for the loaded trains to arrive in Yunnan or Guangxi and then new emerging international markets in South Asia and Southeast Asia by land or via ports. Since then, the travel time from Chengdu to these areas has been shortened to one week from one month, haul distance cut by more than 2,000 kilometers, and transport costs reduced significantly by 30-50 percent.

After removing geographical restrictions, Chengdu, to some extent, has become a "coastal" city not adjoining to the sea and made a leap from an inland city to the forefront of China's reform and opening-up, ushering in the historical opportunity to enter the global arena.

The very first piece of silk wandering along the trade route, the Southern Silk Road, initiated trade activities and exchanges. Today, as the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the Belt and Road Initiative are gradually gaining a foothold, Chengdu once again stands at the forefront of the times and embarks on a new journey of opening up to the outside world.