The Indian community in Guangzhou has widely welcomed the country's decision to open a Consulate-General in the booming southern Chinese city, which they say will further boost bilateral trade and facilitate easier travel for businessmen between the two Asian giants.
With India and China planning to double bilateral trade to $40 billion in the next four years, the two sides decided to open more consulates in each other's country -- Guangzhou in China and Kolkata in India -- to handle the rush of business travel.
"It is surely good news for all of us," chief representative of Bank of Baroda in Guangzhou, D D Singla told PTI.
"Guangzhou has a huge NRI population and their numbers are growing fast with the fast growth in the business ties between India and China," Singla said.
Bank of Baroda, the first Indian bank to open a representative office in the Guangdong Province capital over two years back, is now mulling to upgrade to a full-fledged bank to tap the high growth in bilateral trade from the province.
In the absence of an Indian Consulate in the vast southern region of China, NRI traders from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and other countries, who have surrendered their Indian citizenship, had to go either to Beijing or Hong Kong to get Indian visas.
"With the scheduled opening of the Indian Consulate, one of our long-pending demand has been addressed," a Guangzhou-based Sindhi-businessman with a Hong Kong passport, who did not want to be identified, said.
Another Indian, Deepak Janii, chief representative of Jindal Stainless Limited, also said that the decision to open an Indian mission was a long-felt need of the Indian community in Guangzhou.
"I am very happy with the decision of the Government of India, which will surely facilitate smoother trade ties between India and China," he said.
The Protocol signed by India and China on November 21, provides for an Indian Consulate-General in Guangzhou, with its consular district covering the seven Chinese Provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Hainan, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Guangdong Province is one of China's main engines of economic growth. India is one of the leading trade partners of the province.
During the first three quarters of this year, Guangdong Province reported foreign trade totalling $375.92 billion, up 25 per cent from the same period last year.
The province contributed to 29.5 per cent of China's foreign trade, which totalled $1,272.6 US dollars between January and September. The province retained the top place in foreign trade nationwide.Guangdong also hosts the famous Canton Fair twice a year, an exhibition, which is very popular among the Indian traders, who swarm in huge numbers to buy Chinese goods.