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Qingdao mayor urges development of high-quality marine economy

(chinadaily.com.cn) | 2019-03-11

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The beautiful landscape of the eastern coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong province. [Photo by Qi Shuqing/for chinadaily.com.cn]

Meng Fanli, deputy to the 13th National People's Congress and mayor of Qingdao, pledged to promote the high-quality development of the city's marine economy. 

He stated that Qingdao should speed up the construction of an international well-known marine city, strive to take the lead in development and make its own contribution to help Shandong province and the country grow into a strong maritime power. 

Meng said that Qingdao is born for the sea and prospers towards the sea. The sea is the biggest advantage and the most distinctive feature of Qingdao. 

In January 2016, the State Council approved a new overall urban planning of Qingdao, which upgraded Qingdao's urban positioning to an important national coastal city, a coastal resort and tourism city, an international port city and a national historical and cultural city, each of which can be said to be related to the ocean. 

Qingdao has 120 islands and 49 bays, with a coastline of 817 kilometers. It occupies a coastal region of 12,240 square kilometers, about 1,000 square kilometers more than its land surface. 

Qingdao has abundant marine living resources. The more than 100 kinds of fish in Jiaozhou Bay add up to 1.1 million tons of available fishery resources. 

Qingdao faces Japan and South Korea across the sea. It has natural deep-water ports with very good conditions. Qingdao Port maintains navigation with 177 ports worldwide. 

Qingdao is a national marine science and technology city with a relatively solid marine scientific research force. 

According to Meng, Qingdao has 26 universities and research institutions that have marine engineering programs, 34 high-end research and development platforms at the ministerial level and above, and a large number of marine scientific research personnel including 18 academicians. Qingdao's marine scientific research force is second to none in domestic cities.

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The Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn] 

In addition, Qingdao has a relatively complete marine industrial system and a number of functional parks involving the marine industry. It has been rated as a national marine ecological civilization construction demonstration zone and the country's first demonstration city for marine economic innovation and development. 

In 2018, Qingdao achieved a total marine production value of 332.71 billion yuan ($49.6 billion), an increase of 15.6 percent, accounting for 27.7 percent of the total production value. 

Meng also pointed out that although Qingdao has certain basic advantages in developing the marine economy, there are still some shortcomings in comparison with the development trend of advanced cities. 

In 2017, the added value of Qingdao's marine economy reached 290.9 billion yuan, far lower than Shanghai's 800 billion yuan. It accounted for only 3.7 percent of the country's total and only 19.7 percent of the province's total. 

In terms of industry scale, in 2018, only three of the 20 major marine industries and marine-related industries in Qingdao have an added value of more than 40 billion yuan. The development of the 20 marine industries is also very uneven. 

Meng said that Qingdao's marine scientific research mainly focuses on basic research. The strength of marine engineering and industrialization technology innovation is weak. The proportion of marine science and technology applied personnel is less than 20 percent. 

There are institutional obstacles to the transfer of results. The current system of universities and research institutes mainly focuses on academic research and personnel training. The degree of matching between scientific research activities and market demands is insufficient, and it is difficult for scientific research results to be directly transformed into new products and technologies that meet market demands. 

"Qingdao will further consolidate and enhance its traditional advantages and accelerate the construction of a famous marine science and education city,” Meng said. 

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Qingdao Port, one of the world's 10 busiest ports, has trade connections with more than 700 ports in over 180 countries and regions. [Photo by Yan Jun/for chinadaily.com.cn]

Qingdao will give play to the leading role of marine innovation platforms, build a marine science and technology innovation source with international influence, promote major scientific research projects, and break through a number of core technologies in the marine field. 

It will also accelerate the construction of 100 key marine projects and foster a number of marine pillar industries and leading enterprises with main business income exceeding 10 billion yuan and 100 billion yuan, and strive to increase the scale and proportion of the added value of the marine economy.

"Meanwhile, in line with the goal of building a world-class port, Qingdao will take the port as an important fulcrum for the overall planning of land and sea and for going global. It will not only vigorously expand the market, but also actively strengthen capacity building to speed up the transformation from transportation port and logistics port to trading port and transit port," he added.

Qingdao is launching a "marine offensive" for new and old kinetic energy conversion. It strives to achieve a total marine production value of 500 billion yuan by 2022, accounting for 31 percent of the city's GDP. Emerging marine industries are expected to account for 16 percent of total marine production, and the conversion rate of marine scientific and technological achievements is expected to reach more than 15 percent.