Annie Wu Suk-ching: Originator of China's First Joint Venture
2011-02-25Editor:Zhao Chenxi 
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Wu Shuqing, as member of CPPCC Standing Committee, answers reporters' questions patiently. [gb.cri.cn]
Wu Shuqing, as member of CPPCC Standing Committee, answers reporters' questions patiently. [gb.cri.cn]
Annie Wu Suk-ching's many titles include those of member of the CPPCC Standing Committee, vice-chairperson of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, general manager of Hong Kong World Trade Center, and first Chinese board member of the World Trade Centers Association (WTC). She also has the distinction of having established China's first joint venture.

Wu is involved in charitable works and has made 16 trips to Tibet. Still single, she is a woman with many stories to tell.

In April 1980, the China Foreigners' Investment Management Committee approved the founding of Beijing Air Food Catering Co., Ltd., a joint venture between Beijing and Hong Kong. The proposed venture later received approval from 50 or more departments and was registered in the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. At an opening ceremony on May 3 1980, officiated by then deputy director of China Import and Export Management Administration Jiang Zemin, Beijing Air Catering Co., Ltd, officially became China's first airborne catering concern.

Wu is the first Chinese and sole woman board member of the World Trade Centers Association (WTC). Her work in this capacity entails flying to different parts of the world to meet and talk with various personages about China's policies and changes. WTC member countries have a deep understanding of China which prompts them to adopt preferential policies towards the country. Since Annie Wu joined the board, 19 cities from the mainland, including Beijing, have joined the association.

As Wu's career has always been foremost in her life, she has never married, but is nonetheless deeply fond of children. She also loves Tibet, and has been to the autonomous region 16 times since 1999.

Although the purpose of each trip is in the interests of Tibet's development, Wu seldom goes to local government offices but instead to local schools, centers for blind children and orphanages. She also visits development zones in the region to supervise cultivation of organic vegetables and to discuss and administrate their export. Wu has recently been active in setting up in Hong Kong a Tibetan Children's Health and Education Fund that pools overseas and social donations towards care and treatment for physically and developmentally challenged children in the autonomous region.

Birth of a Joint Venture

Annie Wu's family is famous in Hong Kong as proprietor of Maxim's, a large group of Western-style catering companies. The idea of an in-flight catering business came to Wu while eating the cold, tasteless meal served on a domestic flight. Wu's father James Tak Wu was all in favor of the idea.

At that time, China and the US were on the brink of opening direct flights between the two countries - a prospect which highlighted the gap in international-standard in-flight catering. Representatives from Japan, Singapore and European airline companies discussed cooperation with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, but it was Wu who won over CAAC officials. They agreed to further talks with her, but negotiations were not smooth. China had only recently brought the reform and opening up policy into effect, and had not yet regained sovereignty over Hong Kong. The mainland was hence cautious in going ahead with its first joint venture, negotiating each step in detail, and treating Hong Kong in the same way as it would a foreign investor.

Annie Wu Profile

Annie Wu, of the Han ethnic group, was born in September 1948 in Hong Kong. Wu's father is James Tak Wu, president of Maxim's Catering Limited, Hong Kong's largest catering group. Their hometown is Taishan in Guangdong Province. Wu graduated from the Sacred Heart Canossian College and the US Armstrong University in California. She was awarded an excellent student in 1970. After returning to Hong Kong, Wu became executive president of Hong Kong WTC and established China's first joint venture, Beijing Air Catering Co., Ltd. She invested the profits and additional investments in setting up another 16 joint ventures, including Fuhua Food Company and Beijing Air Carpet Company. Wu has close connections with the Citic Group. Upon completion of Beijing's Citic Mansion, she opened the Cantonese Window on the World restaurant on the top floor.

Proposal at Last Year's Session

Annie Wu proposed at last year's CPPCC session establishing on the mainland a vocational training center for Hong Kong students. She said in her proposal that, to cope with the global financial crisis, China should reinforce education and the nurturing of talents. To this end, Hong Kong and mainland China should learn from each other’s experiences in education, and set up a training center to strengthen cooperation among Hong Kong and mainland universities in vocational skill training. Wu mentioned in her proposal that the Hong Kong Baptist University was preparing to cooperate with Yunnan Province in setting up such a center.

(Source: blog.sina.com.cn, people.com.cn / Translated by womenofchina.cn)

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