Shandong metropolis swimming in success thanks to marine economy boom

By Han Lu | (China Daily)| Updated : 2018-06-09

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As a hub of the modern marine economy, Qingdao in East China's Shandong province has 18 research institutes and 34 high-level R&D platforms for marine sciences and technologies, and is home to nearly 33 percent of China's top professionals in the field, according to Zhang Jiangting, Party chief of Qingdao.

In 2017, the gross output value of Qingdao's marine economy was 290.9 billion yuan ($45.5 billion), an increase of 15.7 percent year-on-year, accounting for 26.4 percent of the city's GDP and 20.8 percent of the marine economy output value in Shandong, according to the Qingdao Bureau of Statistics.

An evaluation report called the National Marine Innovation Index 2016, which was issued by the China Association of Marine Affairs in September last year, showed that the average return-on-investment ratio of the marine science and technology sectors in Qingdao was 0.835, ranking it first among cities in the country.

By taking advantage of the advanced marine technology development, Zhang said, Qingdao has been continuously optimizing the industrial structure in marine-related sectors. Emerging sectors such as marine equipment manufacturing, bio-medicines and seawater desalination have been highlighted as new growth drivers and important means to support the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries.

Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, the first national marine research lab in China, has been developing a global marine science innovation network by expanding international cooperation, including establishing joint laboratories to boost the development of marine science and technology and attracting experts at home and abroad.

Wei Zhiqiang, director of the supercomputing center at the lab, said the facility is planning to build a high-performance, intelligent supercomputing system by 2020 that will be capable of making a quintillion calculations per second, much faster than the current supercomputer.

The Qingdao-based National Deep Sea Center is China's first national public service base for deep-sea research, resource surveys and equipment testing, according to Ding Zhongjun, a senior engineer at the center.

Ding said Qingdao has provided strong support for a number of national-level cutting-edge deepsea engineering projects. It is the home port for China's deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, which set a record by diving to a depth of 7,062 meters during tests in June 2012. China plans to develop deep-sea manned submersibles capable of reaching a depth of 11,000 m by around 2020.

In addition to frontier sciences and technologies, ocean sports and tourism are also an important part of the coastal city's marine economy.

Qingdao has successfully hosted many international sailing events, including the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta, the Volvo Ocean Race and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, over the past 10 years.

Many local schools have established courses for students to learn basic knowledge of marine sports.

More than 120 schools have taught sailing since 2006, with nearly 30,000 teenagers taking part in sailing training classes and acquiring basic sailing skills.

The beautiful coastal scenery has attracted many visitors, with the result that tourism has become an important industry in Qingdao.

In 2017, the total number of visitors to the city topped 88 million and the total amount of tourism revenue was about 165 billion yuan, according to Qingdao Bureau of Statistics.


(China Daily 06/09/2018 page18)