Shandong is Open for Business
On July 16, 2019 at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, a press conference with the theme “New Era, New Growth Drivers, New Shandong” was held to showcase the social and economic development of eastern China’s Shandong Province since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Charts and photos detailed advances in society and economy, traditional handicrafts and accompanying artisans, and models of current infrastructure and agricultural achievement were on display.
Liu Jiayi, secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Shandong Provincial Committee, present for the press conference, toured the exhibition with charts and statistics showing reduction in various kinds of pollution, advances in diverse industries, and development in many fields of the economy. Later he gave an address to the assembled reporters to outline development of Shandong over seven decades and the changes intended to further Shandong’s development.
In Liu’s remarks, particular emphasis in Shandong is on the transformation of economic growth drivers, rural revitalization, becoming a maritime powerhouse, coordinated regional development, and major investment in infrastructure construction.
One point of particular interest is the role Shandong is poised to play in mentoring other areas seeking to transfer from old to new economic drivers. An old industrial base, Shandong is transitioning from traditional, high-polluting industries to more advanced, ecologically friendly industries. If it can do well in transitioning, it will be able to offer experience and confidence deriving from methods empirically proven through real world performance for other regions.
Shandong’s peninsula geography gives it a unique relationship with the sea, as it has one-sixth of China’s coastline. Investing heavily in marine industries, the province is focusing on marine equipment manufacturing, ocean engineering, and marine biomedicine. Among the infrastructure projects most vital to Shandong is construction of ports and integration of port management. Weihai Port could potentially focus on passengers due to its proximity to South Korea and Japan, where Qingdao Port could focus on freight.
The urgency of the transition from traditional economic structures to more advanced and ecologically integrated frameworks was highlighted in remarks from Gong Zheng, the governor of Shandong Province, who also indicated that from 2017 to 2018 Shandong had shut down more than 100,000 heavy-polluting enterprises. In line with China’s further reform and opening up, Shandong is open for business and is continuing the necessary improvements to remain so.