The rapid development of the Dongying Economic Development Zone is now promoting Dongying, a city in the central Yellow River Delta, into one of the economic powerhouses of east China`s Shandong province.
"Starting from an area of deserted saline-alkali land and barren beach, the zone has developed into a new economic growth point around Bohai Bay-Rim Economic Circle," said Li Jinkun, vice-mayor of Dongying and also director of the zone`s administrative committee.
The zone was founded in 1992 with a planned area of 153 sq km. Its manufacturing facilities now number 508 that involved total investment of 46 billion yuan.
Certified with the ISO14001 environmental management system and ISO9001 quality management system, the zone was named a pioneer industrial zone in the province and listed among the first group of demonstration zones for recycling economy in Shandong.
To build a competitive industrial base in Shandong, the zone has made great strides in recent years cultivating new industries, introducing big projects and building industrial clusters featuring hi-tech industries, advanced manufacturing and modern service industry.
Employees work at Keda Group, a renowned electronics company in Dongying.
In 2007, the zone`s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 10.46 billion yuan - 7.2 times that of 2003. Its industries had a total output value of 26.16 billion yuan, 10 times that of 2003, while tax revenues reached 593 million yuan, 6.4 times that of 2003. In the first nine months of 2008, the zone`s GDP hit 9.25 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 33.45 percent.
The zone`s authorities have given strong support to backbone enterprises by encouraging them to increase investment in research and development and improve their capability of independent innovation.
In 2007, 15 companies each realized a sales revenue exceeding 100 million yuan, including four companies each with 1 billion yuan. Shandong Fangyuan Group Co Ltd registered sales revenue of 10.6 billion yuan, China Highland Petroleum Equipment Co Ltd recorded 6 billion yuan and Keda Group had more than 10 billion yuan.
The development zone is now home to 39 hi-tech enterprises that create 45 percent of its total industrial output value.
According to Li, the zone has also made great efforts to promote an export-oriented economy, with 82 companies engaged in import and export operations.
In the first nine months this year, the zone`s import and export value amounted to $674 million, an 87 percent increase compared to last year.
Drawing foreign and domestic investment is a top priority of local authorities.
Li said the zone has established a professional investment promotion company named Dongkai Investment Promotion Co that now has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Japan and South Korea to help develop investment sources.
To build a favorable investment environment, help enterprises solve problems and improve the competitiveness of the zone, the zone has offices to help with project negotiation, needed approvals, construction management and services after construction.
It has also strengthened infrastructure through investing 3.34 billion yuan in the past six years. To date 158 km of roads have been built in the zone.
According to Li, the zone will give priority to industries including new materials, electronic information, machinery manufacturing and petroleum and chemistry in the next five years.
In addition, environmental protection and recycling economy will be emphasized, with more projects that save energy and water to be implemented in the years to come.
The Shandong Fangyuan Group Co Ltd is a famous wind power equipment company in the development zone.
The zone is also planning several industrial parks including the 20-sq-km Binhai New Material Park, the 8-sq-km Ecological Industrial Park, the Oilfield Industrial Park and the 4-sq-km Central Business District.
Investment is still on the rise this year with the signing of 18 large projects each carrying an investment of more than 100 million yuan and totaling about 24.2 billion yuan.
Now 30 large projects are under construction, including a large integrated circuit plant, a superconducting products facility, a vehicle manufacturing plant, a photovoltaic solar energy project and a wind power equipment project, investment in which required more than 25 billion yuan.
Li said the zone is expected to be promoted to a national-level development zone by 2010 due to its powerful hi-tech, manufacturing and service industries.
The zone is projected to be one of the most dynamic industrial areas in the Bohai Bay region by 2015 and an economic zone with international competitiveness and reputation by 2020.
Dongying, where the zone is located, is home to the Shengli Oilfield, the second largest oilfield in China.
At present, the development zone has 29 petroleum recovery equipment manufacturing enterprises, contributing about 20 percent of the nation`s total industrial output value in this field.