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Beijing Full of Confidence to Defeat SARS


       On May 14, a new cross-country model--JEEP2500--rolled down from the assembly line in the Beijing Jeep Co.Ltd. According to Zhang Zhiyuan, executive vice-president of the Sino-US joint venture, the company yielded a 270-percent increase in sales revenue in the first four months of this year and had completely reversed its three-year losses by the end of March.

       Such glad tidings also come from many other Beijing-based enterprises. The latest statistics show that in the first four months, the production of high-tech industries in Beijing increased by 15 percent and that of 14 key industrial sectors rose by 30 percent. The city's industrial added value hit 28.6 billion yuan between January and April, up 13.7 percent over the same period of last year. This has forcefully boosted the city's economic growth.

       In spite of the onslaught of the epidemic, not one of the 873 enterprises in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone suspended production. The production activities of all businesses, including world-known Nokia, GE and Coca Cola, have kept normal. The Beijing Hyundai Automobile Co. broke its record by producing 282 cars a day in commercial, transportation and exhibition sectors. However, the epidemic cannot affect the capital's economic development as a whole, as the city's economy harbors strong innate dynamism, and numerous enterprises are seeking new business opportunities.

       The Beijing Sanyuan Gene Co. Ltd., a high-tech enterprise, has developed a kind of anti-SARS medicine known as interferon a-lb based on the gene of the Chinese. Now, at an unusual speed, it turns out 60,000 injections a day. Many pharmaceutical and medical apparatus enterprises in Beijing have been operating at full capacity to produce medicines and apparatus for the prevention and treatment of SARS. Various insurance companies have designed new policies against SARS, raising the city's premium revenue by nearly 70 percent in April. Even the tourism sector, one of the badly hit industries, is intensifying advertising and preparing for a new high tide of tourism after the epidemic is put under control.

       The epidemic, breaking out with tremendous force, caught the Beijing people unprepared. While paying a high price, they have learned a lot of things. To combat SARS, the municipal government has established an alarm system and a mechanism have the residents' stronger confidence.

       The epidemic will pass. Beijing still enjoys broad prospects for development. With such a vision, world-famous retailers like Carrefour and Wal-Mart have stuck to their plans for expanding their market in Beijing. Board chairman of the Israeli FTI Corp. came to Beijing on May 14 to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Beijing Zhanqiao Electrical Appliances Co., a Sino-lsraeli joint venture. Some Japanese companies signed joint investment contracts with their Beijing partners through exchanges of E-mail and Fax. The tremendous potential of the Chinese market remains a great attraction to overseas investors.

       According to experts, owing to the lagged effect of economic operation, the impact of SARS on Beijing's economy may be fully exposed in May and the GDP is likely to come down. Nevertheless, the Beijing people, who are currently combating SARS with one heart and one mind, will eventually win the battle, and Beijing's economy will become more prosperous--this prediction is both optimistic and rational.

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