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Qingdao sets annual growth target of 7.5%


Port city plans to develop service industries, marine economy, Hu Qing reports.

A vital hub in East China's Shandong province, Qingdao plans to attain its annual growth target of 7.5 percent for the next five years by developing its service industries and marine economy, said local officials.

"The goal for the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) is to build a 'well-off society' in which education and civilization is greatly boosted and the ecological environment is significantly improved with modernized urban administration and governance," said Mayor Zhang Xinqi.

He said Qingdao started to push forward reform and adjust its industrial structure many years ago.

The combined share of research and development investment versus gross domestic product has risen from 2.2 percent to 2.81 percent during the past five years.

It now has 908 city-level key laboratories, corporate technology and engineering research centers and 675 companies were certified high-tech companies during the city's last Five-Year Plan (2011-15), bringing the number to 964.

Seventeen national scientific research bases including the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, and the National Deep-sea Base have been put into use, and more than 10 top Chinese universities have founded research and development centers in Qingdao.

Eight international cooperative R&D platforms are in operation, including the China-Ukraine Special Shipment Design Academy and the ASRTU Sino-Russia Technology Park.

During the next five years, Qingdao plans to focus on 10 major technology centers which covers graphene, deep sea drilling vessels, high-speed trains and smart manufacturing. It will cooperate with international research institutions to build five key innovation bases, covering smart home appliances, transportation equipment, rubber materials, apparels, food and bio-products, Zhang said.

It also plans to attract more than 500,000 college graduates to start businesses or work in Qingdao.

"Our efforts will center on talent development and technology innovation, driven by industrial innovation and sustainability," Zhang said.

Modern service sectors such as financial and information services will be featured in the strategy of building a regional service center. Zhang said knowledge-and technology-oriented services are also bound to rise in Qingdao.

The city aims to encourage both private capital and State-owned investment in high-end service sectors. The share of the service industry is forecast to account for more than 60 percent of GDP, or even 70 percent, by 2021, Zhang said.

Financial industries

Qingdao obtained approval from the State Council to establish the Qingdao Wealth Management Financial Comprehensive Reform Pilot Area, the country's only wealth management institution and a multifunctional wealth management market.

The move allows the city to establish a diversified portfolio of wealth management institutions and a multifunctional wealth management market. By the end of 2015, 57 companies were listed on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations, known as the New Third Board, and 318 companies were listed on the Qingdao Blue Ocean Equity Exchange, a locally operated equity exchange market.

Blue economy

As a coastal city, marine-related industries have played a significant role shaping the city's economic landscape.

"Guided by the Belt and Road Initiative, Qingdao's ocean-related sectors will be significantly elevated in the next five years," Zhang said.

During the 12th Five-Year Plan, the GDP of the marine economy reached 209.34 billion yuan ($32.14 billion), accounting for 22 percent of total GDP.

Zhang said Qingdao has ample resources in terms of high-level personnel and top-notch facilities to support oceanic growth.

By leveraging the city's advantages in basic scientific research, Qingdao plans to advance 140 marine-related projects with a combined investment of 120 billion yuan, covering marine bio products, new materials, comprehensive use of seawater, information services, marine culture and tourism.

By 2020, marine biomedicine is expected to churn out revenue of 50 billion yuan, while revenue generated from Qingdao's oceanic equipment manufacturing is forecast to surpass 100 billion yuan.

The city also plans to enhance cooperation in marine development with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Ocean environment protection is also a priority on the government's agenda.

The city plans to construct an ocean pollution output control system and accelerate water treatment facilities to enhance utilization rates and reduce pollution.It would inspect anti-pollution equipment on ships and at ports to ensure compliance, Zhang said, and invest in ecosystem restoration.

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