Marine economy making waves in Shandong
The Qingdao West Coast New Area in Shandong province has achieved great results in developing the marine economy over the past few years, officials said.
"The marine economy is a distinct feature and the most advantageous and potent powerhouse for the new area," said Wu Jifa, deputy head of the new area's marine development bureau.
In 2014, the new area was approved by the State Council as a national-level new district.
In four years, the new area has established a modern marine industry system incorporating marine organism, sea water desalination and marine finance, Wu said.
The area is home to an economic and technological development zone, a bonded port area and an international economic cooperation zone. It also has marine functional zones related to vacation and innovation.
This area has many national-level zones, complete functions and concentrated policies, Wu said.
In response to the Belt and Road Initiative, the new area has expanded international cooperation with investment promotion centers in countries including Singapore and Germany.
The Qingdao Port has established trade exchanges with more than 700 ports in more than 180 countries and regions.
Official data showed that between 2013-18, the overall output value of the new area's marine industry increased from 49.1 billion yuan ($7.15 billion) to 118.2 billion yuan, with an average annual growth of 20 percent.
The proportion of the output from the marine industry has increased from 21.8 percent to 33.6 percent during the period, with an average annual increase of 2 percentage points.
The area has also made efforts to establish a working group and issue guidelines to develop the marine economy.
It plans to do this by combining traditional and emerging industries and services.
Establishing an improved modern marine industry via technological innovation, new talents and open cooperation is also planned.
Over the past three years, the area has introduced more than 1,000 industrial projects, with a total investment of nearly 1 trillion yuan. These projects range from big data, new information, biopharmaceuticals and cultural tourism to technological talents.
One example is a center for ocean mega-science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
It was set up in the new area and spans 133.33 hectares.
The center also gathers marine innovations in Shandong and thus aids in the high-quality development of the marine economy, said Cheng Peizhou, assistant to the head of the Institute of Oceanology at the academy.
In addition, the area has actively introduced new talents and colleges.
So far, the area has a total of 476,000 talented personnel. Among them are 42 academicians, 52 experts of the Thousand Talents Plan and 460 high-level talents at or above the provincial level, such as Taishan Scholars.
The area has also cooperated with colleges including Tsinghua University and Fudan University to launch collaborative projects.
By 2020, the number of universities in the region will increase to 20 with 300,000 students. The total number of talents will reach 600,000, according to Wu.