by Raimundo Urrechaga
HAVANA, June 21 (Xinhua) -- As Cuba sets its vision of a sustainable, rational industry that contributes to the country's development plans, the ongoing Second International Convention and Exposition, or CubaIndustria 2016, is witnessing a strong Chinese presence.
Over 30 Chinese companies attended the annual industrial fair from Monday to Friday to further develop their ties with Havana in the industrial, transportation, textile, electronic and technology sectors. ' "China has gained experience in many of these areas and we are willing to share it with Cuba for its rapid development," said Miao Wei, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology, at a forum in Cuba on Tuesday.
The senior official told reporters that Beijing supports Havana's path to transform its economic model and the newly approved development plan.
"Just like economic reforms in China, this will lead to a new path of development for Cuba. I see opportunities for Chinese companies and I hope that more will come and contribute to Cuba's social and economic development," said Miao, who is leading a delegation to CubaIndustria.
"China and Cuba are at different phases of development and many of our companies have technology and products which can meet the needs and demands of the Cuban economy. Our government supports the strategy of our companies to invest and develop in Cuba," added the minister.
Various Chinese companies have presence on the island. Among them is Beijing North Star, a high-tech firm which has been in the country since 2003, selling electronic products to Cuban homes.
"We have sold a wide array of home appliances and products but we are currently developing other projects, such as LED lights that are compatible with the island, water treatment plants and robotic arms for factories to speed up production rates," Yang Longchuan, CEO of the company, told Xinhua.
Cuba has become the company's main market in Latin America and the Caribbean, with North Star's revenue reaching 33 million U.S. dollars in 2015.
Chinese technology and home appliances giant, Haier, has been in the country since 2004.
The company is developing a renewable energy plan, including a plant for photovoltaic products, LED lights and wind energy, Zhuo Yong, a top executive in Haier's renewable energy division, told Xinhua.
Over the years, Haier's home appliances, including TV sets, monitors, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners have become popular on the island and are sought after for their competitive prices.
In its endeavor to update the socialist model, Havana views Beijing as a vital and strategic partner to develop its aging industries.
Cuban Industry Minister Salvador Pardo told Xinhua that a variety of bilateral projects will promote the modernization of Cuba's industry and bring immediate benefits to the economy.
The projects include a factory to assemble high-definition TV sets with Chinese technology, a printing press system for Cuba's main newspapers and an industrial unit to build photovoltaic panels in the western province of Pinar del Rio.
"China is a strategic partner in Cuba's industrial development. We have been sharing experiences for many years and we will continue to upgrade our industries with the help of Chinese companies," added Pardo.
"We are accelerating investments in different areas, which is a win-win relation for both sides," said the Cuban minister.