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Interview with Pan Yigi, President of G.E.N.R.I Ltd.

2015-01-19 14:29 作者:Zhu Zijun来源:中国对外贸易杂志社点击量:
Devotion to a Regional Coal Trading Center in Asia Pacific
Beside the Lakeside Reservoir in Huli District of Xiamen, a special economic zone in Southeast China’s Fujian province, the construction of a coal futures trading center is underway. It is expected to make Xiamen a regional coal trading center and lift its international status in the world’s energy sector.
The center, invested and organized by Singapore-based Great East Natural Resources Investment Pte. Ltd.(hereinafter referred to as Great East) in cooperation with the EDFT (EDF Trading), will also see release of a new international coal index, namely South China Coal Trading Index.
“It is necessary to build such a coal futures trading center as it is beneficial to standardize imported coal operation, reduce the middle links and avoid risks for traders,” Pan Yigi, president of Great East Natural Resources Investment Pte. Ltd., told China’s Foreign Trade.
“It will be a service platform for coal spot trading, coal futures trading and supply chain integration,” she added.
A comprehensive trading center
Great East plans to build 6-8 bonded coal stack areas and steam coal bases in China’s coastal ports. The coal spot trading aims to form the Asia-Pacific coal pricing index. Based on the trade volume of spot goods of the EDFT’s thermal coal ports, the center will provide financial management and clearing services for it.
According to Pan, with a potential trading volume of 60-100 million tons of thermal coal futures a year, the center will build itself into an international platform and form the Asia Pacific thermal coal trading index. An informationalized, standardized and open electronic coal trading platform will also be established based on the spot trading and futures trading.
The coal supply chain platform will provide integrated solution and services for trading through introducing and integrating financial and logistics providers, which includes offering information, impawning supervision, advance payment, settlement, inventory management, agent purchasing, forwarding agent, integrated logistics, etc.
“It makes those possible by working with the energy giants like the EDF and BHP Billiton,” Pan said.
Founded in 1946, the EDF is a Fortune Global 500 company with over 50 years of experience in energy development,?known for its cutting-edge competitiveness in nuclear energy, thermal energy and renewable energy.
Headquartered in Singapore, Great East is also a large-scale investment company engaged in capital services such as operations and management of finance and capital market in the field of trade and energy. 
Founded in 2000, Great East has set up many branches across the world. Entering the Chinese market in 2010, it has invested in several Faxin (Xiamen) Property Ltd. and Shuyang Antaile Investment Management Ltd. Pan Yigi is president of these companies.
The high buildings named Global Wealth Center,  where the coal trading center is located, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. Financial services will also be provided in the center such as banking, securities futures, insurance, offshore finance, incubation for overseas listing and financial training. The coal trading center is to be put into use in three years. 
“Index in the Asia Pacific region”
Trade in steam coal, also known as thermal coal, has long been regarded as a catalyst for stimulating economic development of port cities. Index is seen as a barometer in coal trading in the world. 
The international coal index was created in the 1980s, and aims to reflect the real-time change of the price of the coal and the market circumstances. Traders set the prices based on this index. The current major coal indexes are Richard offshore index, London onshore index and Newcastle offshore index. The EDF took part in the construction of the world’s three major coal indices .
However, “So far there has been no such coal index in the Asia Pacific region, thus we feel we have to do something,” said Pan.
Great East and the EDFT have collaborated with Xiamen University to establish a joint energy policy research institute to conduct research on South China Coal Trading Index, and the institute may lay a theoretical foundation for the world coal indexes. The index is expected to enhance the city’s reputation and influence in the international energy sector, and give China more of a voice in international coal pricing.
Why Xiamen
Great East obtained the plot beside the Lakeside Reservoir for investment of the coal trading center in January 2014. That Great East chose Xiamen as the location for the center is not without reason. 
Pan, migrating to Singapore in early 1990s, was born and raised up in Xiamen. Though leaving her motherland for decades of years, her hometown has always been in her mind. After investing some projects in China over the years, she finally came to her hometown with great aspiration.
“Once a local citizen of this city, I am so shocked by its economic and social development in recent years after setting foot on the land,” said Pan.
“Various factors contribute to the formation of the idea of setting up the center and it is underway not only for my business, but also for the city we are grateful for,” she said.
In 2010, the State Council, China’s cabinet, officially approved the establishment of a financial service center in the city, namely the Cross Strait Financial Center. As planned, the 21-square-kilometer center in the northeast of the city, involving a total investment of 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion), will be a springboard for financial companies from Taiwan to expand their business on the mainland. It will also become a physical platform for cross-Straits financial cooperation, conducting experiments and reforms such as developing the long-awaited monetary settlement mechanism for cross-border trades.?In this way, Xiamen will become a financial gateway to Taiwan by promoting economic and financial exchange between the mainland and Taiwan.
“This provides us with historical opportunities and we decide to settle here since a financial center still has links with industries such as our bonded warehouses and goods,” said Pan.
In addition, “The city has other qualifications for the center such as its abundant natural greenery, mild climate and radiation ability as a main coal trading center in Southeast China,” she added.
Imported coal has been surging in Xiamen and has been transported to neighboring inland provinces. Data from the customs show that from January to October 2014, the total imports of coal in the city rose to 11.205 million tons worth 770 million US dollars, an increase of 40.7% and 31.7% respectively year on year.
Still, “We hope to build a coal trading platform with upstream and downstream integration through the platform of the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) held in Xiamen,” she said.
The CIFIT, approved by the State Council, takes place in September every year in the city. Themed on “Introducing FDI” and “Going Global”, it focuses on nationality and internationality, investment negotiation and investment policy promotion, coordinated development of national and regional economy, as well as economic and trade exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
Passion for traditional culture
When summarizing the factors contributing to her success in business, Pan said: “Devotion, insistence, hard work, and believing in Nature.”
Living in Singapore where the majority of the population are Chinese, she is often impressed by the culture of filial piety and ancestral hall inherited generation after generation which makes the society and families more harmonious and peaceful. It occurs to her that she should do something to preserve and inherit the Chinese traditional culture across the world, which may be called going global of Chinese culture.
“Developing cultural soft power is as important as doing business,” said Pan.
By chance, she got to know a Buddhist temple in Shuyang County in the northern part of East China’s Jiangsu Province—Yuanjue Buddhist Temple in 2012. Shuyang is known for its long history of Buddhist culture which dates back to Yuan Dynasty and boomed in Ming Dynasty.
“Investing in Buddhist culture and philanthropy is a way for preserving and inheriting the Chinese traditional culture like filial piety,” Pan noted.
She decided to invest in the temple and set up a company—Shuyang Antaile Investment Management Ltd., to build it into a charity platform which includes worshiping Budda, life memorial (service for funeral and interment), old people’s home and silver hair industry. The reconstruction of the temple begun in early 2013 and is well on its way to completion. The company was listed on Shanghai Equity Exchange Center on Dec. 1, 2014. Soon it will be listed in Hong Kong. 
“Integrating Chinese culture of filial piety and ancestral hall, the company aims to contribute to the inheritance of traditional culture and building of harmonious society,” said Pan, adding that “In the future, we will establish the company’s service standards and franchising system to expand to other areas and make it a leader in this field in China.”