“Teaching, scientific research, and social service are the duties of teachers in universities and colleges. We are just doing what we are supposed to do” said Li Chuntao, the president of West Yunnan Financial Research Institute, “This is why our university participates in the project of aiding the poor with education in Yunnan and jointly established the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute along with West Yunnan University of Applied Sciences and Hengfeng Bank. And it also shows how can this institute promote the development of local economy and society by drawing on the academic advantages.”
The West Yunnan Financial Research Institute is a new-type financial think tank jointly built by Zhongnan University of Economics and Law(ZUEL), West Yuanan University of Applied Sciences, and Hengfeng Bank, It is located in Dali, Yunnan Province and run by the Collaborative Innovation Center of Industrial Upgrading and Regional Finance (Hubei). Under the guidance of “application-oriented cooperation between school and bank”, the West Yuanan Financial Research Institute, as a local research institute, sticks to “based on Yunnan, facing South and Southeast Asia, follow the national strategy”, promoting the transformation of scientific research achievements of into productivity. Since its establishment, the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute has become a genuine think tank. It provides the local government with solid first-hand materials for poverty alleviation in west Yunnan by conducting a lot of field research and also offers feasible policy recommendations for “the Belt and Road” financial construction. In the meantime, the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute has become an important carrier for poverty alleviation with education and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Industrial Upgrading and Regional Finance (Hubei) has exploited its system and mechanism advantages, building bridges for Hubei enterprises to “go out” and to link themselves to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Poor-supporting Finance Highlights the Advantages of Think Tank
The western Yunnan province is a region that integrates ethnic minority areas and border regions, which is also one of the 14 key poverty alleviation areas in China, The poverty population there is very large and it is a concentrated contiguous poor area with the largest number of border counties and native ethnic minorities, making the poverty alleviation work there very tough. The Ministry of Education attaches great importance to the poverty alleviation in western Yunnan and has set up a leading panel of poverty alleviation and carried out a series of poverty alleviation work. Chen Baosheng, the minister of the Ministry of Education, is the leader of this panel, working along with other 22 key personnel from Education Departments and Bureaus nationwide. In 2015, the Ministry of Education set up the West Yuanan University of Applied Sciences, mainly to train the application-oriented technical personnel, which is badly needed for the development of regional economy and society. As a university directly under the Ministry of Education, our university participated in its pairing-assistance project. On December 6, 2016, in order to give full play to our discipline characteristics and major advantages, ZUEL established the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute jointly with West Yuanan University of Applied Sciences and Hengfeng Bank to further promote the poverty alleviation work in Yunnan.
“Targeting is the first step of targeted poverty alleviation.” In order to explore a suitable model for local poverty alleviation, our university has set up an expert panel to conduct field research in Dali, Tengchong, and Ruili for many times. Due to the heavy teaching and scientific research tasks and the long distance between Hubei and Yunnan, the teachers and professors in the expert panel has to sacrifice their winter and summer vacation to carry out research in Yunnan. Xiao Chunhai, vice president of the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute who has participated in the research for many times, said, “Yunnan has vast mountainous areas and so its traffic is very inconvenient. It did cost us a lot of energy to get a more comprehensive understanding of the region.”
The institution has completed 3 large-scale surveys in just one year after its establishment. Researchers have learned that Yunnan is rich in natural resources, but because of the backward economic model, it is difficult to transform the advantages of resources into economic advantages. In order to solve this problem, the institution has approved and pushed forward the implementation of the honeysuckle planting and deep processing project in Yongping County, Dali and rose deep processing project in Dali City. By conducting surveys on upgrading and development of wild mushroom industry in Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture and the jewelry industry in Tengchong City, the institution has obtained a lot of first-hand data and organized experts, scholars, postgraduates and doctoral students of our university to carry out related subject research. Our later plan is to introduce financial means to the local industrial system on the basis of research achievements.
Lv Yongbin, vice president of West Yunnan Financial Research Institute, said, “The development of industry is the endogenous way to help the people get rid of poverty and become better off, not the exogenous way to eliminate poverty by “blood transfusion”. But without financial leverage, tools and means, it is difficult to form a modern industrial system. We rely on our advantages of disciplines, academic, and talents, using commercialized and market-oriented financial resources to create a hematopoietic poverty alleviation mode.
Finance in Border Areas Fuels Opening-up
Financial poverty alleviation emphasizes sustainability and commercialization. Educational poverty alleviation focuses on the long-term development of the region. Our university combines the two into hematopoietic and endogenous poverty alleviation mode, which brings a bright prospect for poverty alleviation in West Yunnan.
In addition to providing financial support to local industries, our research on Ruili index also provides academic support for RMB cross-border flow and its internationalization and intellectual support for financial reform in border areas and the Belt and Road initiative, giving full play to the role of financial think tanks. In 2013, the central government set up a pilot zone for comprehensive reform of finance in border areas of Yunnan, aiming to promote the financial reform experimentation in border areas and to promote the peripheralization and the regionalization of RMB. In recent years, the goal of the reform has been linked with the Belt and Road Initiative, which has become a continuous research subject of the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute. Since 2017, the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute has sent many expert groups to China-Vietnam and China-Myanmar border areas to conduct special research on the comprehensive financial reform in border areas of Yunnan and the RMB exchange rate formation mechanism in border transactions.
Researchers have mastered the latest trends of the financial reform and the internationalization of RMB in border areas, and had a series of academic achievements on this basis. The Collaborative Innovation Center of Industrial Upgrading and Regional Finance (Hubei) published the book The Silk Road Economic Belt and Hubei’s Opening-up in 2016, and the related research achievements won the first price of outstanding achievements of decision-making support work of Hubei Provincial Party Committee. In September 2017, Zhou xianping, deputy director of Collaborative Innovation Center of Industrial Upgrading and Regional Finance (Hubei), published a research paper entitled Promoting the Cross-border use of RMB in Key Border Areas: Taking Ruili Experience as an Example in the national think tank journal, Globalization and submitted it to the headquarter of the People’s Bank of China as basis for China’s next step in the exchange rate policy and the policy implementation in border areas.
Pilot Experience of Regional Finance
For RMB international settlement, most universities in China chose eastern developed areas as their research areas, they seldom conduct research on RMB cross-border transactions in the western border areas. Our research on Yunnan-Burma region will fill this gap and highlight our discipline advantages as a financial university, and contribute to the internationalization of RMB and the Belt and Road Initiative.” Said Zhu Xinrong, director of Collaborative Innovation Center of Industrial Upgrading and Regional Finance (Hubei).
On April 16, 2017, inspired by the mode of the West Yunnan Financial Research Institute, our university, together with Wenzhou Business College and Lucheng Rural Commercial Bank, established the Wenzhou New Financial Research Institute. The government of Enshi, Shiyan and other places in Hubei also expressed their hope to copy this mode. During an interview, vice president Lv Yongbin said happily, “This shows that our mode is reproducible and extensible. If we overcome the obstacles of inadequate manpower and energy, we plan to set up more institutes of green finance, inclusive finance, scientific and technological finance, and financial science and technology in more regions. Based on our financial discipline advantages, we will further promote the development of local economy through the strength of our “Double World-Class” disciplines.
Broadening the development path on the basis of the existing achievements has always been the direction pursued by the Institute. President Li Chuntao is very confident about the future, he said, “In West Yuanan University of Applied Sciences, based on our finance and economic disciplines, we plan to help them to establish a School of Finance or a School of Economics and Management to train more modern financial personnel. And actively undertake all kinds of high-end academic conferences, and build Yunnan into an international academic exchange center. In the mean time, we are going to popularize financial knowledge to local leaders and residents, putting the idea of “inclusive finance” into practice.
The West Yunnan Financial Research Institute is at the forefront of the innovative mode of financial poverty alleviation, it turns the advantages of university think tanks into governance achievements and links the universities more closely to the society. Started from scratch, the institute is now becoming better and better.