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Making the most of sea assets using expertise

By YIN RUOWEI | (China Daily) | 2022-04-21

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Researchers conduct an experiment at Qingdao Bright Moon Seaweed Group. CHINA DAILY

Qingdao in East China's Shandong province is aiming to become a global maritime city by 2035, which is to include leading marine science and technology; a developed marine economy; pleasant marine ecology; thriving marine culture; and active marine exchanges and cooperation internationally, according to a document released by the city government recently.

The document also noted that Qingdao strives to be a pacesetter, building China into a maritime powerhouse and Shandong into a strong maritime province. By 2025, the annual GDP growth rate of the city's marine economy is expected to be 7 percent on average. The added value of maritime emerging industries is projected to increase by more than 8 percent annually on average. Qingdao's development level and competitiveness as a maritime city will be comprehensively improved by that time.

Marine resources are Qingdao's strength, according to the local government. For example, Qingdao boasts 30 percent of the nation's high-profile maritime academics and researchers. It has 40 percent of the country's high-level marine research and development platforms, and half of all marine breakthrough technologies.

"In 2021, Qingdao's gross ocean product reached 468.49 billion yuan ($73.55 billion), with a year-on-year increase of 17.1 percent, accounting for more than 30 percent of the city's total GDP," Qi Yongzhan, deputy director of the Qingdao marine development bureau, said at a news conference on April 12.

"Key marine industries have achieved great growth. The GOP generated by the marine transportation sector increased by 26 percent and that of ships and marine engineering equipment manufacturing industries increased by 18 percent. The growth rate of marine-related industries' GOP, like marine materials manufacturing industry, was about 23 percent," Qi added.

Meanwhile, Qingdao has seen leapfrog development by the Qingdao West Coast New Area, the nation's only new area centered on marine economic development. Including a coastline of 282 kilometers and a sea area of 5,000 square kilometers, it has 14 national-level marine demonstration ranches, with a total area of 6,630 hectares, making the new area the nation's largest cluster of such ranches.

One of the ranches is Luhaifeng National Marine Ranch in Xuejiadao waters. Its deep-water cage aquaculture zone, artificial reef cultivation zone and large-scale algae cultivation zone spans 3,333 hectares in total. Each year, more than 3,000 metric tons of wild sea cucumbers, abalone, perch and blackhead fish are harvested.

Liu Yuanyu, who is responsible for the Qingdao Marine High-tech Zone-a core component of the new area, said: "We will speed up implementation of 20 projects worth 22 billion yuan, such as Qingdao Bright Moon Seaweed Group's valley of marine functional foods; Qingdao Tianyi Group's smart textile machinery; and Qingdao Hiron Commercial Cold Chain's commercial refrigerator.

"We will work hard to make sure the algae-derived products of Qingdao Gather Great Ocean Algae Industry Group, Qingdao Shenghai Ocean Biotech and Qingdao Cihai Biotechnology can start production this year; and 16 new projects, with a total investment of 16 billion yuan, can have a good start."

Liu added: "At present, we are safeguarding 21 headquarters building projects of companies such as Shandong Energy Group, Fang Ya New Energy, and WEFIC Ocean Equipment Manufacturing. Also, we are helping six companies such as Huawei, Hainan Chengshi Investment, and Sichuan Kang Qian Environmental Technology to get their projects started within the year. We are speeding up the signing process of 10 headquarters building projects with companies like Zhongan Xinjie New Energy Technology and Singapore WIS Holding. By doing so, the agglomeration area, integrating a great number of headquarters, will have a better quality and more vitality. Talents, capital flow, services and other resources will quickly gather together at the area."

yinruowei@chinadaily.com.cn