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Wanda unveils $221m project

By Meng Fanbin ( China Daily )

Updated: 2017-07-20

College complex and tourism village will boost education, jobs in Danzhai

A major Chinese property and media group has injected 1.5 billion yuan ($221 million) into a building and funding program to combat poverty in Danzhai county.

Dalian Wanda Group opened a college complex and a stunning historic tourism village earlier this month to boost educational standards, employment and incomes in this region of Guizhou province.

"The opening of the Danzhai Wanda Village and the Guizhou Wanda Vocational College does not mean the goal of alleviating poverty here has been reached," said Wang Jianlin, chairman of the sprawling Chinese conglomerate and Asia's richest man.

 Wanda unveils $221m project

Two people from poor families look at the bonus document from Wanda Group's poverty alleviation fund in Danzhai county, Guizhou province on Jan 10. On that day, 300 representatives from poverty-stricken families received the bonus. Huang Xiaohai / For China Daily

"We will take the responsibility of the project and see it through until the end," he added at the opening ceremony on July 3.

Wanda and Danzhai county signed a poverty alleviation agreement at the end of 2014, and it has taken about two years to complete the construction of the village and college. A fund has also been set up to help the poor.

The region is at the center of cultural heritage tourism and is also known for its stunning landscapes.

Most of the population is made up of 21 ethnic minority groups with the Miao being the largest.

Craft industries are a crucial part of the area's history with exquisite Miao batik art a major draw for visitors.

"This project with Wanda has established a model that will greatly motivate the mass participation in poverty alleviation," said Su Zhigang, governer of Guizhou province, at the opening ceremony.

"It will also help boost nationwide involvement by companies and build a sustainable model, which can be used again in the future," Su added.

Wanda spent 300 million yuan on building a vocational college and another 700 million yuan on constructing a tourism town in Danzhai.

A further 500 million yuan was put into a Special Poverty Alleviation Fund.

"The college is designed to improve Danzhai's quality of life through education and eliminate poverty," Wang said.

Covering an area of 300 mu, or 20 hectares, the college will take in a maximum of 2,000 students. At least 50 percent of the graduates will then be offered jobs at Wanda each year.

As for the village, it has been designed in the breathtaking style of Miao architecture and will help create 2,000 new jobs in the region.

Wanda is hopeful this cultural destination will attract one million tourists annually to Danzhai and increase revenue by more than 500 million yuan.

"The company will oversea the stable operation of the village," Wang said. "We will build it into a famous tourist destination, while the vocational college will become the outstanding school in the province.

"Wanda will not only help ease poverty in Danzhai, it will also bring prosperity to the county," added Wang, who received a National Poverty Alleviation Innovation Award last year.

He also confirmed that the Poverty Alleviation Fund will help groups with special needs or serious illnesses, as well as orphaned children.

Already 50 million yuan has been distributed to 38,300 residents suffering from poverty.


(China Daily 07/20/2017 page18)

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