A bird’s eye view of Zhanjiang’s urban area. Photos provided to China Daily
Zhanjiang, a port city in southwestern Guangdong province is embracing unprecedented opportunities in terms of foreign trade and investment.

The city has been assigned by the provincial government the mission of becoming the spearhead for the development of western Guangdong. It will also serve as an important coastal access point connecting the nation to the outside world as well as a modern portside industrial city, an environmentally friendly bay city and a leader in the Beibu Bay region.

Breakthroughs in major projects are expected to speed up the construction of the city’s modern industrial system, according to the city’s bureau of foreign trade and economic cooperation.

They include the coastal high-speed railway in western Guangdong, the high-speed railway linking Zhanjiang and Beihai in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the passage across the Qiongzhou Strait, the relocation of the airport of Zhanjiang, the Sino-Kuwaiti petrochemical complex and the Baosteel Zhanjiang Iron & Steel Co project.

The city is set to benefit from the greater emphasis placed on adjacent regions, including the Beibu Bay Economic Zone in Guangxi and the international tourism island of Hainan.

Economic boost

The coastal city will receive a boost from the inclusion of marine economic development as a highlight of the national 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) and Guangdong’s designation as a comprehensive experimental zone for developing marine economy in the country.

Zhanjiang is also poised to expand comprehensive economic cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Zhanjiang representative office of the China-ASEAN Business Council Chinese Secretariat was established during the 2012 China-ASEAN Economic and Trade Cooperation Zhanjiang Activities in June. A project by the Thai CP Group was designated a demonstration zone for China-ASEAN modern agricultural cooperation.

The Port of Zhanjiang was identified as a base for China-ASEAN shipping and logistical cooperation, and the Fenyong Economic Zone of Zhanjiang was named China-ASEAN Economic Development Zone.

The city government approved 25 new foreign-funded projects last year, up 92.3 percent year-on-year. Imports and exports rose by 24.7 percent to $4.4 billion, 8.3 percentage points higher than the provincial average growth.

The city’s aquatic industry was identified as one of the national foreign trade transformation demonstration bases, and its small home appliance industry was listed as one of such bases at the provincial level last year.

To better facilitate the flow of foreign investment into the city, six sub-bureaus were founded last year that focus on iron and steel, petrochemical processing, tourism, strategic new industries, modern services and major State-owned enterprises.

The city government has appropriated 2 million yuan ($314,700) to support foreign trade transformation demonstration bases in R&D, quality testing, standardization and certification, information services, modern logistics, brand building, and personnel training.

It will encourage enterprises to bank on the key petrochemical, steel and papermaking projects and expand imports of advanced technologies and key equipment, energy in short supply, ores, and raw materials.

It will offer incentives to enterprises for setting up regional trading headquarters and foster sizable import firms.

It will also work to boost the export of products with independently developed intellectual property rights as well as domestic brands, high-tech goods, and products with high added value and high efficiency.

According to the bureau, one of Zhanjiang’s main advantages in developing foreign trade and investment is its location as a main estuary in southwestern China and the closest point along the country’s coast to Southeast Asia, the Middle-East, Africa, Europe and Oceania.

The city is blessed with a deepwater port, which is one of the main hub ports of the country and the largest in southwestern China.

With its yearly throughput exceeding 155 million tons in 2011, the amount of goods handled at the port is expected to reach 300 million tons by 2016, making it one of the top 10 ports in China.

Zhanjiang is also a transport hub in South China that links the southwestern region and Hainan province through extensive networks covering air, railway and road transport.

The city government plans to inject 55.8 billion yuan worth of investment to further upgrade the transportation network during the 2011-2015 period.

Zhanjiang is also proud of its resources in agriculture, aquatic products, minerals, crude oil, natural gas, tourism and technological human resources.

The city also enjoys environmental advantages. Its air quality has been rated best among cities in Guangdong and third among major cities in the country.

And city officials remain adamant that the city’s environmental quality not be compromised by economic development.

The petrochemical and steel projects will adopt the most advanced standard in energy conservation and emissions reduction.

The gross domestic product of Zhanjiang is expected to expand by 15 percent annually to reach 400 billion yuan in 2016. The industrial output is projected to expand by 16 percent annually to reach 550 billion yuan.

The city government seeks to reach fifth or sixth place in terms of economic strength among 21 cities in Guangdong. It hopes to make Zhanjiang the province’s third largest city in 10 years.

Meanwhile, the Zhanjiang government has announced its policy for attracting high-level professionals this year. It is offering industry leaders and heads of innovation teams up to 2 million yuan to start their own businesses.

The policy aims to meet the demands of the city’s so-called five major, five new and five specialty industries.

The five major industries include iron and steel, petrochemicals, papermaking, tourism and logistics.

The five new industries include advanced oceanic development, alternative energy, electronics, pharmaceuticals and new materials.

The specialty industries refer to agriculture, home appliances, furniture, food and industries with local cultural characteristics. 

SOURCE: China Daily
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