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Redoubled effort to make waves in ocean sector

By HU YUYAN | (China Daily) | 2022-09-30

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The world's first 100,000-metric-ton intelligent vessel Guoxin No 1 is put into operation in Qingdao in May. CHINA DAILY

The coastal city of Qingdao is redoubling its efforts to grow into a pioneering economy and an international metropolis as it strives to boost its competitiveness and integrate into the new development paradigm, local officials said at a recent news conference.

"It is Qingdao's vision to grow into a vibrant ocean economy," Yin Shiyi, director of the marine development authority of Qingdao in East China's Shandong province, said at a news conference on Sept 20.

As an established marine powerhouse endowed with rich marine resources, Qingdao is well positioned to turn its vision into reality. The size of Qingdao's ocean economy ranks third among coastal cities on the Chinese mainland, second only to Shanghai and Tianjin.

In the past decade, Qingdao's economy grew at an average rate of more than 15 percent annually. In 2021, the city's ocean economy produced more than 468 billion yuan ($65.3 billion) in output value, up 17.1 percent year-on-year.

From January to June, both the cargo throughput and container throughput of Qingdao Port came fourth among China's coastal ports.

To become a pioneer in developing a modern ocean economy, Qingdao has been working to be a leader in marine science and technology, ocean-based industries, international marine cooperation and marine ecology, according to Yin.

Qingdao is home to a sizable share of the country's marine research specialists.

It boasts 30 percent of China's academicians specializing in ocean-related disciplines and 40 percent of the country's high-end platforms for marine research and development.

In the next step, Qingdao will work on the construction of innovation platforms including a national deep-sea gene bank and colleges such as the Ocean University of China to enhance its ability to undertake important national sci-tech projects.

In the industrial sphere, Qingdao hosts multiple industry leaders such as China State Shipbuilding Corporation Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding. Local industries including marine biomedicine, ocean transport and seawater desalination are ahead of the pack nationally.

Qingdao's effort to develop into a modern ocean economy is poised to lay a solid foundation for it to become a modern, international socialist metropolis.

"The key to becoming a modern, international socialist metropolis is enhancing the ability to lead regional development and to participate in international cooperation and competition," Li Suman, director of the Qingdao bureau of commerce, said at the Sept 20 news conference.

"Developing the city into an international gateway and hub is an important approach to enhancing this ability," Li said.

Qingdao serves as an important link in the global transportation network. Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport operates flights to 126 cities around the world. Qingdao Port connects with more than 700 ports in more than 180 countries and regions. In 2021, the cargo throughput and container throughput of the port ranked fourth and sixth worldwide respectively.

Growing into an international gateway and hub is an imperative for Qingdao as it seeks to speed up its integration into the new development paradigm, and it's also a crucial, strategic move for the city to enhance its overall strength and to achieve high-quality development, Li said.