YANTAI: During his inspection tour of Shandong in April of this year, President Hu Jintao made a commitment to support the area`s development strategy of "building a `blue` Shandong Peninsula Economic Zone." As a coastal city, with a 900 km-long coastline, Yantai sees fully utilizing its marine capabilities as crucial to its future development.
Acknowledging its importance, Sun Yongchun, secretary of the Yantai Party committee, said: "Developing the Shandong peninsula`s blue economic zone is a great opportunity for Yantai."
On August 18, the Guidelines for Building the Yantai Blue Economic Zone were published and opened up for public comments. According to the guidelines, Yantai will accelerate the pace of its drive toward a marine-reliant economy. This move comes back of the city`s abundant marine resources and aims to make Yantai one of the leading areas for hi-tech marine industries.
The proposals in the guidelines include the development of high-end port industrial agglomerations, establishing the area as an international travel and leisure resort and creating a showcase for ecologically-friendly marine innovations.
Yantai has a number of obvious advantages and strengths when it comes to the development of a "blue economy": Ranked second in the province, Yantai has a 900 km coastline and 26,000 sq km of developable sea area, a figure almost twice that of its land area. Its existing resources in ports, coastline, islands, biology, tourism, mining and sea all combine to give the city great scope for developing its "blue economy".
Its 2008 marine economic output reached 94.3 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 18 percent. The main business income of the port industries amounted to 349.1 billion yuan, a 29 percent increase over the previous year.
According to the Shandong provincial government`s plan, an industrial zone for the marine equipment manufacturing industry will be developed in the Longkou Bay area, focusing on developing marine engineering equipment, as well as several other related sectors - including a manufacturing industry, a port chemical industry, an energy industry and a logistics industry. A new marine energy industry cluster will also be set up in Laizhou to develop the salt and salt chemical sectors, as well as the offshore wind energy industry.
There are rich coastal wind resources in Laizhou, highly suitable for the development of a wind power industry. At present, the capacity of a number of established wind power projects has reached 200,000 kilowatts, notably among those projects sited in Datang, Huadian, and Huaneng.
In addition, Laizhou has 34 different varieties of identified mineral resources, of which, there are 1 billion cubic meters of underground brine reserves. The level of exploitable reserves is some 660 million cubic meters, representing an annual output of 2 million tons of crude salt. Laizhou is also an important center for gold, stone processing and exports.
Yantai plans to focus on developing six important sectors over the next five to ten years, including a coastal tourism base, a marine science center, an educational and cultural quarter, a port logistics division, a marine equipment manufacturing facility, a circular economic heavy chemical industry base and a marine bio-industry base.
Also listed as a priority is Yantai`s focus on promoting the construction of the west ports of Yantai, Longkou and Laizhou.
These sites are envisaged as forming a contemporary cluster of marine industries, including maritime transport logistics, ship and marine engineering equipment manufacturing, modern marine fishery, marine culture and tourism, an eco-chemical industry, port processing and manufacturing, marine bio-industry, marine new energy and mining industries, a comprehensive seawater utilization industry, and a series of marine environmental protection initiatives.
The Yantai "blue economy" has developed rapidly since the beginning of the year. In the first four months, the city`s marine economy output value reached 28 billion yuan, an increase of 14 percent over the same period last year, according to statistics of the Yantai Ocean and Fishery Bureau.
In the first four months of 2009, the shipbuilding and marine machinery manufacturing industry production value came to 3.9 billion yuan, an increase of 17 percent year-on-year.
There have also been 26 projects in the shipbuilding sector, representing a total investment of more than 14 billion yuan. Some 16 of these projects are already under construction.
In the first quarter of the year, the shipbuilding industrial output value of the development zone`s combined area amounted to 960 million yuan. Merely Daewoo Shipbuilding contributed 658 million yuan of output value, with an export value of $19,200. At present, some 35 ancillary enterprises have chose to open operations in the area.