The first tour across the Taiwan Straits by the Kaohsiung mayor, Han Kuo-yu, got off to a good start, as trade deals worth more than NT$3.1 billion ($100.7 million) were signed in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions - the first stops on his journey to boost economic ties.
The rising star in Taiwan's Kuomintang party arrived in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Friday, heading a delegation of about 30 officials and businessmen from Kaohsiung. Han, who assumed office in December, started a weeklong tour which will include the Macao SAR; Shenzhen, Guangdong province; and Xiamen, Fujian province.
Han set foot in Shenzhen on Sunday afternoon, marking his first stop on the Chinese mainland before moving on to Xiamen. He officiated at the opening ceremony of an incubation hub in the Qianhai economic free trade zone in Shenzhen for young entrepreneurs from Taiwan.
He will end his trip on Thursday.
At a trade promotion event in Hong Kong, Han witnessed the signing of several trade deals covering agricultural and fishery products and processed goods between two Kaohsiung business groups and business associations and firms from Hong Kong and the mainland. The total value of these deals reached NT$2.47 billion.
During the event, Han said the main aim of this trip was to make friends, sell products and invite more Hong Kong people to visit and invest in Kaohsiung, a port city in southern Taiwan that he described as a "sleeping giant" with huge potential.
According to Han, agricultural and fishery products from Taiwan made up 3.6 percent of Hong Kong's market. Kaohsiung will take the lead in lifting market share of Taiwan's agricultural and fishery products to at least 10 percent, he said.
During his stay in the SAR on Friday, Han held separate meetings with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Wang Zhimin, director of the region's Liaison Office of the Central People's Government.
Lam noted that Hong Kong and Taiwan have frequent trade, economic and people-to-people exchanges, and that the two are major trading partners and tourism sources for each other.
In welcoming more high-quality imports from Kaohsiung to the city, Lam said she hoped Han's visit would promote further exchanges and cooperation.
The mayor arrived in Macao on Saturday via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge - the world's longest sea crossing - which connects the eastern and western sides of the Pearl River Delta. Han described the infrastructure as "breathtaking".
Han continued his trade-bonding trip in Macao by witnessing the signing of trade deals amounting to 188 million patacas ($23.3 million) between business associations and companies of Macao and Kaohsiung.
The mayor also met with Macao Chief Executive Fernando Chui Saion and Fu Ziying, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao SAR.