Heilongjiang Television, which is owned by the government of the Heilongjiang province in China, has a civic responsibility to underwrite, as well as produce and broadcast events of interest to its millions of viewers, according to Cui Bin, the station’s vice president.
This policy could help provide opportunities to bring appropriate Atlanta cultural and sporting events to China, he told GlobalAtlanta during an interview in Harbin, Heilongjiang’s capital, citing an interest among many Chinese in American artists and sports.
Mr. Cui said that the station’s seven channels report on local, national and international news events and broadcast a variety of documentaries, dramas and cartoons. There also is a daily news program in English.
But in addition to broadcasting these programs, he said that the station organizes, promotes and hosts cultural and sporting events in its 2,800 square-meter amphitheater at the complex, or in other even larger facilities in Harbin.
These events are shown on the station’s channels and are popular, he said and cited as examples the station’s recent hosting of a tournament of the world’s 10 top-ranked table tennis players and basketball and skating events. The station also competed with cities from throughout China to host the 2006 Miss China Universe Pageant, according to Mr. Cui, “to help promote tourism, economic development and trade as well as healthy lifestyles.”
The pageant will be held in Harbin on March 8, and will be included in the city’s annual Ice and Snow Festival. Since temperatures often dip as low as 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, he said that an alternative venue further south would be found for the swim suit contest, but all other parts of the pageant would be held in Harbin.
GlobalAtlanta accompanied Nick Qin, whose travel company, China Professional Tours, is based in Norcross and who is president of the Miss China Universe Organization, to attend a news conference in Harbin on June 17 announcing the city’s selection as next year’s venue for the pageant.
Harbin, which has a population of more than 9.5 million people, is the northern-most major city near the China-Russia northeastern border.
Mr. Cui stressed that Harbin and Heilongjiang province were adamant about promoting the city’s stature as a growing economic center open to foreign investment.
He also said that the province was intent on drawing more tourists. Already more than 1 million tourists visit each year to attend the Ice and Snow Festival despite the below freezing temperatures.
Heilongjiang province and the Northeast of China welcome foreign investment, he added, as the region seeks to emulate the economic successes of the Beijing-Tianjin corridor, the Pearl River Delta and the Yangze River Delta.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. companies conduct $216 million annually in total trade with the province. Coca-Cola Co., FiberGlass Systems Inc., General Electric Power Systems, Deere & Co., McDonald’s Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. already have a presence there.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. acquired 29 percent of the Harbin Brewery Group Ltd. last year for $139 million.
To learn more about Harbin or the 2006 Miss China Universe Pageant, call Mr. Qin at (770) 849-0300.