Xiamen Special / News

Balanced progress of Xiamen

By Liang Kaiyan |  chinadaily.com.cn |  Updated:2022-10-19

Economic development spread evenly across coastal island city’s several districts, thanks to 2002 strategy

Cross-island development has brought prosperity to the coastal city of Xiamen in East China’s Fujian province as it has made strides in integrating the development of its downtown and suburban areas.

In 2002, the Xiamen city government issued the cross-island development strategy, mapping out its transformation from an island city into a bay city. According to the strategy, the local government planned to integrate the development of its six administrative districts, with Siming and Huli on the main island and the other four of Haicang, Jimei, Xiang’an and Tong’an on the mainland.

Since then, Xiamen has followed this blueprint in city construction. It has moved with the times to update its strategy. So far, the city has formed a layout featuring the cross-island development of industries, public services, culture and ecology.

New business forms such as scientific and technological innovation, finance, and headquarters economy have been sited in the downtown areas of the main island. Meanwhile, suburban areas on the mainland have witnessed the construction of new towns.

The balanced development has allowed more people to participate in Xiamen’s city construction and helped them realize their dreams by working and living there, local officials said.

Burgeoning industry

Listed in the first batch of national-level high-tech zones, the Xiamen Torch Development Zone for High Technology Industries was established in 1990 in Huli district. In the past 10 years, the torch zone has expanded across the city, setting up branches including an industrial zone, high-tech centers and software parks in the suburban areas of Tong’an, Xiang’an and Jimei. It is home to high-tech businesses and industries, playing a significant role in the city’s innovation and industrial development.

As cross-island development accelerates, Xiamen has built 10 industrial chains, each valued at 100 billion yuan ($13.83 billion). Among them, biomedicine and new-type functional materials have been included in the first batch of national strategic emerging industry clusters. By 2025, the output value of Xiamen’s new material and new energy industries is expected to surpass 140 billion yuan. 


On Dadeng Island in Xiang’an district, Xiamen’s new airport is under construction. The new airport is a major transport infrastructure project, which comes from years of planning and preparation, and is a milestone for Xiamen’s cross-island development strategy, according to local officials.

The airport will be a new engine to drive Xiamen’s cross-island development and an essential platform for the urban integration of Xiamen, Zhangzhou and Quanzhou and the coordinated development of eastern and western Fujian province. It will also be a transportation hub assisting cross-Straits industrial integration and serving the country’s opening-up and development.

Apart from aviation, port services are another highlight of Xiamen’s cross-island development. This sector has seen burgeoning growth in its transportation volume and intelligence upgrading and transformation.

“Ports were one of the first industries that responded to implementing the cross-island development. The Port of Xiamen had planned business in Haicang district since the cross-island development strategy was launched in 2002. This strategy boosted confidence for the port to build deep-water berths outside the main island, preparing the ground for the rapid growth of the port over the past 10 years,” said Huang Luxu, deputy general manager of Xiamen Container Terminal Group.

Since 2012, the container throughput at the Port of Xiamen jumped six places to rank 13th in the world. The business volume at the Haicang Port area accounts for 74 percent of the total in Xiamen, an increase from 43 percent 10 years ago.

In terms of intelligent transformation, a series of cutting-edge technologies have been deployed at the Port of Xiamen.

At Hairun wharf of the Haicang port area, 5G and high-speed fiber-optic technology were adopted to enhance the efficiency of the wharf.

Sitting in a monitoring room, Wu Wenfeng, a senior technician and experienced crane driver, takes only a few seconds to operate a bridge crane 2 kilometers away by remote control.

In recent years, the wharf has seen rapid progress in intelligent development, Wu said.

“In the past, I had to be close to the crane to operate it. I never expected to control it by sitting in an office and just like playing a video game,” he said.

Around the wharf, a series of intelligent technologies have been employed. For example, with artificial intelligence, one driver can control and operate multiple heavy cranes. Most container trucks have been replaced by driverless vehicles and the wharf’s entrance has been installed with automated identification systems.

Such a scenario could not have been imagined 10 years ago, but building a world-class AI-driven port has become a consensus now, said an official from the administrative bureau of the Port of Xiamen.

“The Port of Xiamen is a pillar of the special economic zone. It is inevitable to insist on self-innovation and conduct wharf revolution based on intelligent transformation,” the official said.

Higher level

Over the past 10 years, Xiamen has formed a multilayered and overall opening-up pattern. It features a special economic zone, pilot free trade zone, maritime cooperation, and the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution Innovation Center. These have created more opportunities and given Xiamen an edge in cross-island development, local officials said.

The city is embarking on deepening cross-island development through the construction of innovation facilities and international cooperation with the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

For example, the BRICS Future Innovation Park has welcomed a slew of high-tech businesses featuring 5G, big data, AI, digital content and cross-border e-commerce. It is located in Jimei district, the hub of Xiamen’s construction of a new industrial revolution innovation center. In the first half of this year, the import and export volume of Xiamen to BRICS countries reached 38.42 billion yuan, up 20.4 percent year-on-year.

In addition, Xiamen Science City, a landmark innovation project initiated by the city government in 2021, is experiencing rapid development across Tong’an, Xiang’an and Jimei districts.

So far, the science city has attracted more than 600 businesses and research and development institutes, with a total registration fund of more than 15 billion yuan, according to local officials.

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