Zhanjiang Special / News

Provincial subcenter Zhanjiang boosts opening-up and coastal economic belt

China Daily |  Updated:2022-10-17

A cargo ship docks at Zhanjiang Port in Guangdong province. The port is the only one with 400,000-DWT wharfs in South China.[Photo provided by Guo Longbi/For China Daily]

Industrial parks and improving infrastructure attracting wide range of businesses

German chemical giant BASF announced on Oct 11 that it will invest in a new world-class Neopentyl Glycol plant at its new Verbund site in the coastal city of Zhanjiang in the western part of Guangdong province.

With an annual production capacity of 80,000 metric tons, the new NPG plant is expected to come on stream in the last quarter of 2025, to boost BASF's global NPG capacity to 335,000 metric tons annually from 255,000 tons at present.

The announcement came shortly after its first plant at the Verbund site was put into operation in early September, which marked a milestone in the comprehensive construction of the Zhanjiang project.

The smart Verbund site, with a total investment of 10 billion euros ($9.55 billion), will form a solid foundation for a world-class industrial cluster in Zhanjiang, local officials said.

The site is the first large petrochemical project solely owned by a foreign investor in China.

On Sept 15, less than 10 days after the plant went into operation, 11 petrochemical companies signed cooperation agreements with the Zhanjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone and BASF, with a combined investment hitting about 7 billion yuan.

They will strengthen cooperation in such sectors as fine chemical industry, public and supporting facilities, and logistics services. The estimated industrial output value will exceed 11 billion yuan in total.

Big projects such as BASF's Verbund site in Zhanjiang are paving way for the city to speed up its high-quality economic development, officials said.

In recent years, Zhanjiang has made great efforts to develop port industries, coastal tourism and agriculture with local characteristics, in a bid to form a high-level modern industrial system.

It now has four major industrial projects each with an investment of more than $10 billion and several Fortune Global 500 companies including Air Liquide and Veolia.

Also, the annual industrial output value of some advanced manufacturing clusters, such as green steel making, high-end paper making and green energy, is about to reach 100 billion yuan, respectively.

At present, Zhanjiang is striving to build itself into a subcenter of Guangdong, and an important growth point of a modern coastal economic belt of the province by integrating industrialization and digitalization with ecology and highlighting the construction of big industrial parks, the development of big cultural tourism and application of big data.

From 2012 to 2021, Zhanjiang's GDP increased from 190 billion yuan to nearly 356 billion yuan, and the fixed-asset investment rose from 57.23 billion yuan to 137.6 billion yuan.

Located in the southernmost part of the Chinese mainland, Zhanjiang is one of the first 14 open coastal cities and serves as a pivot of maritime cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative framework.

It is also a national marine economic development demonstration zone, a national comprehensive transportation hub and a central city of the Beibu Gulf.

Zhanjiang is an important gateway for Guangdong to connect with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members. It is also located at the intersection of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hainan Free Trade Port and the Beibu Gulf city cluster.

"The city will give full play to its geographical advantages, and actively build a new highland for opening-up in China," Liu Hongbing, Party secretary of Zhanjiang, told local media.

It is planning to build an industrial park covering around 620 square kilometers, which is designed to be the largest of its kind in the province. The park will focus on the cultivation of 100-billion-yuan industrial clusters of green steel, green petrochemical and advanced materials. It will also develop automobile and green energy industries.

In addition, Zhanjiang's traditional advantageous industries like agriculture, aquatic product processing and food featuring local characteristics have enhanced their competitiveness.

The city is now home to 25 high-level modern agricultural industrial parks, including four State-level ones.

In 2021, Zhanjiang ranked first in Guangdong in terms of grain planting area, the total output value of aquatic products, and agricultural output value which stood at 105.2 billion yuan.

In addition to industries, the city has also sped up the construction of a modern three-dimensional transportation system of land, sea and air in the past decade.

The modern and comprehensive transportation network is helping Zhanjiang enhance co-operative ties with the island province of Hainan, which is on the other side of the Qiongzhou Strait.

The two are preparing to build a special cooperation zone between Guangdong and Hainan provinces in Zhanjiang's Xuwen county.

With a total planned area of 140 sq km, the zone will have a modern logistics park, a high-end manufacturing park, a port service and business area, and a cultural tourism and ecological innovation demonstration area.

Zhanjiang and Hainan will also jointly promote the construction of the Qiongzhou Strait Economic Belt; boost the coordinated development of modern service industry; and strengthen cooperation in marine biopharmaceutical industry, marine energy and marine equipment manufacturing.

The city has also fortified its subcenter role in terms of scientific and technological innovation, education, healthcare service as well as modern service sectors.

The city ranks top in the western region of Guangdong in the numbers of high-tech enterprises, tech-intensive SMEs, State-level incubators for technological enterprises and spaces for mass innovation.

It has also topped other cities in Guangdong outside the prosperous Pearl River Delta region in the retail sales of social consumer goods in the past few years.

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