From ancient times to the 21st century, Quanzhou has always been a leading port for commerce and trade, performing well both economically and industrially. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was still able to register a GDP of over RMB1,000bn in 2020, reinforcing its status as a premier city not just in Fujian Province, but in all of Mainland China
Located on the southeast coast of Mainland China, Quanzhou is one of three core cities in Fujian Province. The city occupies a land area of 11,000 square kilometres and a sea area of equal size with a coastline of 541 kilometres. It is home to a permanent population of 8.74 million residents and is also the ancestral home of more than 9.5 million overseas Chinese.
Quanzhou is among the first batch of cities announced by the State Council as a “famous historic and cultural city” and one of the major places of origin of Minnan (southern Fujian) culture. It is the world’s first “multicultural showcase” and “East Asian Cultural Capital” and is regarded as a “museum of world religions”. The city was the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and its port was the largest in the East during the Song and Yuan dynasties. It is a strategic and pivotal city of the Belt and Road Initiative, a pilot zone of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road and the seat of the Secretariat of the Business Council of the United Nations Maritime–Continental Silk Road Cities Alliance.
A national economic powerhouse
In 2020, Quanzhou became yet another Mainland Chinese city with a GDP exceeding RMB1,000bn — it registered a GDP of RMB1,015.9bn and a GDP per capita of RMB110,000. The city’s economic aggregate has ranked first in Fujian Province for 22 consecutive years, while its other economic indicators such as GDP, industrial output value, total retail sales of consumer goods and volume of express delivery have leapt into the top 20 among all Mainland Chinese cities.
Quanzhou has three core industrial sectors: traditional industry, new and hi-tech industry and heavy and chemical industry. It has established nine industrial clusters each with a production value of RMB100bn, namely textiles and garments, footwear, petrochemicals, machinery and equipment, building materials and home furnishings, artefacts and decorations, paper and printing, electronic information and food and beverages. While textiles and garments from Quanzhou account for 10 per cent of Mainland China’s output, sports shoes made in the city comprise 40 per cent of the country’s production and 20 per cent of the world’s. Moreover, 65 per cent of the Mainland China’s stone materials come from Quanzhou, as do 40 per cent of the world’s.
As the “national capital of brands”, Quanzhou owns 159 famous national trademarks. There are 109 listed companies in the city, placing it at the forefront of the nation’s prefecture-level cities. Quanzhou is an export-oriented city, establishing trade relations with over 200 countries and regions around the world. Despite the adverse impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Quanzhou’s total import and export value reached RMB197.08bn in 2020. Its export value even recorded a 3.4-per-cent growth to reach RMB150.36bn.
A pioneer in reform and opening-up
Quanzhou is one of 18 regions in the country leading the way with the reform-and-opening-up policy. Since the implementation of the policy, Quanzhou has been known throughout the country for its “Quanzhou Model” and “Jinjiang Experience” (Jinjiang being a county-level city of Quanzhou). It has earned many accolades, including the “national pilot zone for comprehensive reform in financial services”, “pilot city for comprehensive reform in the private sector”, “national demonstration zone in innovation”, “national innovative city”, “national demonstration city in e-commerce”, “pilot city for national-level market procurement trade” and “national comprehensive pilot zone for cross-border e-commerce”.
A place for investment
Quanzhou is one of 40 cities in Mainland China with an excellent physical investment environment. It has been honoured as a “national model city in environmental protection”, “national garden city”, “national eco-friendly city”, “national civilised city”, “national hygienic city” and the “best city for expatriates”.
Well-developed land, sea and air transportation
Quanzhou has a 360-kilometre high-speed railway network, with routes directly reaching cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. There are 19 expressways passing through the territory, representing a density that is on par with other developed countries. Jinjiang International Airport is a national first-class airport with routes to 76 domestic and international destinations. In 2019, the airport received more than 8.4 million passengers, over one million of which were international travellers. At Quanzhou Port, there are 25 deep-water berths, each with a capacity of more than 10,000 tonnes. In 2019, the port had a cargo throughput of 100 million tonnes and handled 2.5 million standard containers.
Suitable for living
Urban construction in and around Quanzhou is progressing full speed ahead, with an urbanisation rate already reaching 68.5 per cent. Green coverage of the downtown area is 43.2 per cent, resulting in an excellent air quality rate of 97.3 per cent. The 13 prefecture-level-and-above potable water sources have maintained a 100-per-cent quality rate.
Comprehensive coverage of information network
Quanzhou is entirely covered by a fibre optic broadband network, and its core urban and rural areas are covered by a 4G network. The city has already initiated the planning and base station construction for a 5G network. It is among the first batch of cities in Mainland China to have implemented commercial operation of 5G and built 10,000 base stations, making it part of the first batch of “Dual Gigabit Cities” in the country.
Enhanced business environment
Quanzhou is the first in Fujian Province to waive company incorporation fees and the first pilot city in the province to implement a system reform of business affairs. It has taken the lead in launching “multi-certificate integration”, collective registration, simplified enterprise deregistration and service by appointment. The city has also set up a new “one-stop” administrative service centre and implemented a new “one number, one window, one network” service model. Quanzhou was praised by the State Council for its effort in streamlining the regulation of administrative approval procedures and industrial and commercial registration.
Attracting and keeping talents
The city has implemented a talent recruitment programme. Currently, it has 67 academic workstations, 98 specialist workstations and 25 post-doctoral workstations, as well as introduced 59 state-of-the-art scientific research institutions. More than 100 experts from the national talent recruitment programme, nearly 700 experts from the provincial talent recruitment programme and about 16,000 municipal high-level talents are now based in Quanzhou. The city’s talent development index has ranked first among all the districts and cities in Fujian Province for three consecutive years.
Burgeoning academic and industrial platforms
Quanzhou is moving forward with the construction of the National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone and the establishment of the “Quanzhou Chip Valley”. It has introduced and set up a number of high-end platforms with strong capabilities in technological innovation, including the Institute of Equipment Manufacturing from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Industrial Research Institute from Harbin Industrial University, the Maritime Silk Road Time Center from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Nanyang Research Institute.