"3820" Strategic Project 30 Years 30 People Liem Sioe Liong: a Fujian-Born Tycoon Who Made a Difference in His Hometown


During his term of office in Fuzhou in the early 1990s, General Secretary Xi Jinping pinpointed the historic position Fuzhou was in with a keen insight; scientifically planned and implemented the "3820" strategic project guided by far-sighted strategic thinking; and led Fuzhou in achieving extraordinary leapfrog development.


Having pursued the dream continuously for 30 years, great efforts are being made for the future. The 30 years have witnessed unwavering adherence to the essence of the "3820" strategic project in Fuzhou where blueprint was drawn, hard work seen, new grounds broken continuously in the development of a modern international city in line with the grand blueprint drawn by General Secretary Xi Jinping as Fuzhou is being turned into a beautiful reality.


Fuzhou Radio and Television Station premiered on 19 May a serial coverage titled "Having pursued the dream continuously for 30 years, great efforts are being made for the future", to commemorate the 30th anniversary in Fuzhou in implementing the "3820" strategic project. "30 Years 30 People - Liem Sioe Liong: a Fujian-Born Tycoon Who Made a Difference in His Hometown" was aired on 23 May. 

Fuzhou is well-known for being the hometown of overseas Chinese. Statistics show that more than 4.3 million overseas Chinese around the world have roots in Fuzhou.


As early as 1992, "Fuzhou municipal 20-year social and economic development strategy vision" proposed, on the basis of running existing foreign invested enterprises, further expansion of channels and fields of utilizing foreign investments to seek significant breakthrough in attracting investments from overseas Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as foreign capitals.


Overseas Chinese compatriots have made enormous contribution to economic and social development in Fuzhou over the last 30 years. One of them is Liem Sioe Liong, a well-known Chinese entrepreneur and patriotic leader of overseas Chinese.



 ▲Fuqing Overseas Chinese Museum Liem Sioe Liong Memorial Hall


Liem Sioe Liong was born on 16 July 1916 in Niuzhai Village, Haikou Town in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. He was a renowned Chinese entrepreneur, an outstanding leader of overseas Chinese and founder of Salim Group, an international conglomerate.

Liem Sioe Liong left China for Indonesia in 1938. He worked as an apprentice and did small business in the beginning. With hard work and extraordinary wisdom, he and his two brothers founded PT Salim Economic Development Corp in the early 1950s. Liem Sioe Liong was reputably known as the "king of flour", "king of cement", "real estate tycoon", "banking magnate" and so on.

PT Salim Economic Development Corp developed into the multinational Salim Group in the 1990s, whose business operations range from finance, real estate, mineral, automobile manufacturing to transportation sectors.

Salim Group's total assets amounted to USD 18.4 billion and annual turnover approximately USD 20 billion in1995. It had 640 companies then.


As a business tycoon well known in the world, Liem Sioe Liong, an ethnic Chinese, had never forgotten the country of his origin. He knew his roots were in China. The feeling and emotion to "love and make the motherland and hometown better" had always lingered in his heart.


At the start of the reform and opening up, Liem Sioe Liong, alongside ten or so like-minded Fuqing clansmen living overseas, jointly contributed USD 10 million and set up Qinghua Sugar Plant in 1980. The sugar plant in his hometown was the first foreign enterprise in Fujian Province.


Liem Sioe Liong, Lim Djit Sun, Harry Tansil and other overseas Chinese community leaders in Indonesia and Singapore established the Rongqiao Foundation in 1986, and 134 overseas Fuqing clansmen joined the foundation and collectively raised HKD 48 million.


In the spring of 1987, Liem Sioe Liong asked Fuqing clansman Sutanto Djuhar to set up and lead an Indonesian business delegation to visit Fuqing. After the visit, he injected enormous amount of capital to develop the Rongqiao Development Zone, the first state-level development zone developed by overseas Chinese.


Inspired by ideas of "overseas Chinese to introduce more investments from overseas Chinese and Taiwanese compatriots", Fuqing clansmen living overseas responded actively by returning to their hometown where they invested and set up factories. As a result, a large number of companies operating in the electronics, plastics, dying and weaving sectors set up operations in Rongqiao Development Zone, which was approved by the State Council in 1992 to become a state-level economic and technological development zone.



Rongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone has grown into a state-level display equipment industrial park, featuring complete functions, beautiful environment, complete leading industrial chain and excellent investment environment. Meanwhile, three major industries, namely, electronic information, precision auto parts and optical devices, have been formed here. Blessed with four national level credentials the "state-level economic and technological development zone", "national display equipment industrial park", "national new industrial demonstration base" and "national flat panel display high-tech Industrialization base", Rongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone serves as a window of reform and opening up in Fuqing, the main direction of industrial growth and the "locomotive" driving economic growth.



▲Fuqing Rongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone
(photo courtesy of the Propaganda Department of the CPC Fuqing Municipal Committee)


In addition to the development of Rongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Mr. Liem Sioe Liong also supported and established the Yuanhong Investment Zone by the Fuqing Bay.


 ▲ Yuanhong Investment Zone


Under the company of the leaders of Fuqing City, then CPC Fuzhou Municipal Committee Secretary Xi Jinping led a delegation to visit Mr. Liem Sioe Liong in Indonesia in 1991, where he gave a vivid speech. He likened the rice, noodles and cooking oil which Mr. Liem Sioe Liong sent back to the villagers during the temporary difficulties in the past to eggs. He hoped that Mr. Liem Sioe Liong would cooperate with the government to send some "hens" to the villagers and teach them how to "raise hens to lay eggs".


General Secretary Xi said that we could not just give them eggs to eat because they would still be poor after finishing all the eggs given. They should be taught how to raise hens, so that they would continue to have eggs to eat. Mr. Liem Sioe Liong felt that what General Secretary Xi said was very reasonable, and nodded frequently. General Secretary Xi then suggested that Mr. Liem Sioe Liong could work together with the government to help the hometown to develop industrial parks and bring in industrial projects, so that they could get rich through their own efforts.


Mr. Liem Sioe Liong was moved by the spirit of General Secretary Xi and decided to sign an agreement with the government to develop the 50km² Yuanhong Investment Zone


On 17 May 1992, with the approval of the State Council, the largest foreign-funded development zone in China — Yuanhong Investment Zone - was established. In June of the same year, Yuanhong Investment Zone commenced construction. As the largest foreign-funded whole piece land development project at that time, this incident caused a great sensation in the whole country, and it became the headline news on the front page of the People's Daily.  



 ▲Foundation-laying ceremony of the phase-1 project of Yuanhong Industrial Park
(photo courtesy of the Propaganda Department of the CPC Fuqing Municipal Committee)  


In June 1994, Yuanhong Port was completed and put into operation, becoming the first 30,000-ton terminal in Fuzhou port and the first 10,000-ton terminal in Fuqing city. Upon approval by the State Council, the port was opened to foreign ships in October 1994, and is one of the Category I ports in China.


In September 2005, Yuanhong Investment Zone was approved as a state-level comprehensive investment zone and the Fuzhou Yuanhong Investment Zone Management Committee was established. Leveraging the attraction of a national Category I port, Yuanhong Investment Zone went all out to develop the industrial park by the port capitalising on its seaport terminal. A business park designated for returned overseas Chinese was planned for in the eastern part of the park where an industrial cluster was established based on four main competitive sectors ranging from grain, oil and foodstuffs, textile and chemical fibre, light industry machinery to energy refining.


In 2016, Yuanhong Investment Zone launched the development and construction of Yuanhong International Food Industrial Park, relying on the basic advantages of domestic and foreign Fuqing clansmen engaged in food wholesale, retail, processing and logistics distribution. Food industry ecological chain projects have landed in the park one after another.


Yuanhong Investment Zone is the first Indonesian overseas Chinese cooperation development zone personally negotiated and guided by General Secretary Xi Jinping during his work in Fuzhou. Over the past 30 years, guided by the essence of the 3820 strategic project, Fuzhou's investment attraction work has continued to leap forward. In 2021, Yuanhong Investment Zone became the Chinese partner of the China-Indonesia "Two Countries, Twin Parks" project.



  ▲Yuanhong Investment Zone

The construction of the China-Indonesia "Two Countries, Twin Parks" project actively implements the Belt and Road initiative, seizes the new opportunity of opening up to the outside world, and promotes cooperation and development between China and ASEAN.


In addition to industrial development, Mr. Liem Sioe Liong and many overseas Fuqing clansmen have always put people's livelihood in mind and donated funds to promote infrastructure development in their hometown, which has greatly improved people's livelihood and well-being. Liem Sioe Liong, Sutanto Djuhar and others jointly donated to the construction of Yuanhong Road, Yuanhua Road and other projects, and subsequently made individual donations to build Yuanzai Bridge and the new Lucao Bridge, etc.    

Mr. Liem Sioe Liong was also very concerned about education in his hometown, and together with Sutanto Djuhar, donated to Yuanhong Teachers Training School, Yuanzai Middle School and Yuanzai Primary School. He also donated to Haikou Middle School and Fuqing Health School.


In the 1980s and 1990s, Fuqing had serious water shortage problem. In 1992, when their hometown decided to build the Minjiang River Diversion project, Liem Sioe Liong and Sutanto Djuhar took the lead in pledging USD 25 million, and mobilized overseas Chinese to pledge more than USD 20 million. The water diversion project was successfully completed in November 2003. Today, the Minjiang River Diversion project not only benefits the people of Fuqing, but also contributes to the emergency water supply in the Pingtan Integrated Experimental Zone.


Mr. Liem Sioe Liong passed away on 10 June 2012, bringing an end to his roller-coaster, splendid and legendary life, leaving behind a precious spiritual legacy.


▲Liem Sioe Liong (photo courtesy of the International Society Fuqing Clansmen Company Limited)


Mr. Liem Sioe Liong embodies the best of Chinese cultural traditions in every way. Diligent, thrifty, persevering, wise, honest andmodest, he loved and gave back to his hometown and could be regarded as a model for overseas Chinese.


Over the past 30 years, Fuzhou has always adhered to the essence of the 3820 strategic project, fully implemented the strategy of a strong provincial capital, accelerated the construction of a modern international city, and made breakthroughs in investment attraction, project construction, and optimization of the business environment. Fuzhou has given full play to the advantages of overseas Chinese of Fujian origin and other overseas Chinese, and has formed a unique pattern of opening up by adhering to the strategy of using overseas Chinese to attract investments from overseas Chinese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Macau compatriots and foreign investors.


Today, more and more overseas clansmen of Fujian origin are carrying on Mr. Liem Sioe Liong's spiritual legacy, actively supporting the economic and social development of Fuzhou, further developing the business of attracting investment with Fuzhou characteristics, and injecting vitality into the construction of Fuzhou as a modern international city.


Produced by Fuzhou Radio and Television Station

Source: News 110