Offering a variety of rich resources and well-established infrastructure, Nanjing is rapidly enhancing its level of competitiveness

Nanjing has long been regarded as one of the cities in the Yangtze River Delta region, and among cities on the Chinese mainland, with the greatest growth potential. Thanks to the accelerated implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and further development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and Yangtze River City Clusters and augmented by the city’s increasing level of integration with neighbouring Zhenjiang and Yangzhou, Nanjing has entered a new phase in its development, embarking on a new strategic platform to ensure continued growth in the future.

An upgraded profile

Nanjing is taking on an increasingly important role in national strategy and regional development. The “Plan for Development of the Yangtze River Delta City Cluster”, introduced last year, positions Nanjing as a mega-city in the Yangtze River Delta region. In the new plan, the State Council has approved a more extensive vision for Nanjing’s general city planning and identified Nanjing as an important hub in eastern China, a significantly upgraded profile for the city from its previous assigned status as an important centre in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and an important regional centre. This not only reflects a “qualitative leap” in Nanjing’s status, but also indicates that Nanjing will take on a more vital role in the region’s development, resource-allocation framework, attempts to attract capital and corporate headquarters, industrial upgrading and innovation advancement.

An accelerating urban economy

In recent years, Nanjing has maintained good momentum in its development. It enjoys a leading role among the 15 sub-provincial cities in the eastern region and in the country as a whole. In 2017, the city achieved a GDP of RMB1.1715trn, an increase of 8.1 per cent over the previous year that enabled it to enter the ranks of the “Trillion Club” cities in China. Growth in the city’s public budget revenue, fixed asset investment, imports and exports and other economic indicators were all faster than other cities in the region and among the most competitive in the nation overall, indicating not only that the development of the city is on the right track, but also that it is accelerating.

Rapid improvement in the urban facilities

With the construction of a high-speed railway hub and the second phase of airport development already completed and the commencement of initial navigation of a 12.5-metre-deep water channel at the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Nanjing is set to function as a triple hub for airport, high-speed railway and river and marine transportation. On the financial side, Nanjing has attracted 745 financial organisations and direct financing institutions, and a number of high-end platforms such as Hexi Financial City are in place to create a modern and reliable financial system incorporating banks, securitisation, insurance and various other new types of financing. In terms of public transport, the Nanjing railway network currently has seven lines in operation, with total mileage of 258 kilometres. Another six lines with total mileage of 200 kilometres are currently under construction, pushing Nanjing to the forefront of the nation’s large- and medium-sized cities in terms of its transportation infrastructure.

A mix of vibrant urban industries

Nanjing has put in place a modern industrial system to co-ordinate the development of advanced manufacturing capabilities and modern services, with strong support from emerging industries such as the smart grid, biomedicine and a next-generation information network. Electronic information and automobile manufacturing have become two of the city’s pillar industries. Key strategic emerging industries such as new displays, Internet of things (IoT), information communications equipment and smart power grid components have each grown to over RMB100bn in scale. Industry heavyweights including Taiwan Semiconductor, Tsinghua Unigroup Semiconductor Industrial Base and Yinlong Energy have all set up substantial operations in the city in integrated circuits, new energy vehicles and other fields. At the same time, Nanjing enjoys a leading role in the service economy, with obvious competitive edges in areas such as finance, corporate headquarters placement, trade and logistics, tourism, conventions and exhibitions, and health services.

Abundant human resources

Nanjing is especially rich in terms of its scientific output and educational resources. The city is home to 81 academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as well as 53 institutions of higher learning, where more than 800,000 university students are enrolled and produce 220,000 graduates each year. The city ranks first and second respectively in the country in terms of the number of universities with more than 10,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. In recent years, Nanjing has worked tirelessly to create and nurture high-end talents. Among these, a total of 303 people in the city have been recognised in the “1,000 talents plan” and 112 people have been recognised in the “10,000 talents plan”, earning Nanjing a position among the leading sub-provincial cities. Nanjing has also attracted a large number of innovative institutions to the city, which include 91 major laboratories at the provincial level or above, 1,137 local and international R&D centres affiliated with the top international 500, and 958 engineering technology research centres. These resources provide strong intellectual and professional support to enterprises operating in Nanjing.

An open and pro-business city with ample business opportunities

Nanjing offers ample business opportunities and promises a bright future to any company setting up operations in the city. In recent years, Nanjing has established a number of impressive platforms for the modern services and advanced manufacturing industries, providing ample room for development and solid functional support for enterprises in various industries.

Nanjing is an open and pro-business city whose policy advantages are evident and accumulating. The city has long focused on developing industries, serving enterprises and supporting entrepreneurship. It is committed to constantly upholding pro-business principles, improving the level of policy support, and internationalising the market by fostering the rule of law. All of this has enabled Nanjing to become one of the most vibrant economies and best investment environments in the Yangtze River Delta.

Supporting and nurturing emerging industries

Nanjing has set up an emerging industries development fund, with initial investment of RMB10bn from the municipal government. This is further augmented by several sub-funds financed by social capital, which together increase the level of capitalisation of the fund to RMB50bn. The fund focuses on supporting 14 strategic categories in seven sectors, including next-generation information technology, high end equipment manufacturing, and new energy vehicles (NEVs). The city has also formulated special directions and supportive policies for the software, smart grid, integrated circuit, big data, energy conservation and environmental protection industries. In particular, the municipal government recently promulgated the “Directives on Several Policy Measures to Accelerate the Development of Advanced Manufacturing Industry in order to Revitalise the Real Economy”. The directives clearly and deliberately set out a programme of support on an annual basis for a batch of high-end industrial projects. A selection of smart-technology transformation projects and two-to-three public technological platforms for strategic emerging industries are funded through the initiative as well. A sum of up to RMB20m will be granted to each designated recipient, and project approval and land allocation will be given priority.

Enhancements to the modern service industry

Nanjing has formulated various special policies in support of a modern service sector. To promote the development of a strong financial services industry, a subsidy of RMB5m to 10m shall be granted to each financial institution choosing to establish their headquarters in the Hexi Cluster Zone in Nanjing. Angel investor funds, equity investment funds and financial intermediaries that choose to settle in the Zone will surely prosper thanks to the various special support policies. In order to foster the growth of an economy rich in corporate headquarters, a special fund has been set up to support the establishment of headquarters or regional headquarters in Nanjing. A one-time award of RMB5m will be granted to foreign companies investing in the city that are approved by the Ministry of Commerce or to regional headquarters of multinational enterprises set up in the city and recognised by the Ministry. A maximum subsidy of RMB5m or 2m will be granted to newly established headquarters for the purchase of a new office for self-use or office rental respectively. Subsidies in the value﹣added tax, operations tax and income tax will also be given to recognised headquarters or growth-oriented enterprises. Nanjing also has in place comprehensive policy support for the development of industries such as tourism, leisure sports and modern logistics.

Promoting industrial innovation

To support innovation in industrial technology, Nanjing has introduced 36 sets of science and technology innovation policies to create a nurturing environment for cultivating pioneering enterprises. A subsidy of RMB30m will be granted to multinationals and leading enterprises choosing to set up R&D operations in the Jiangbei New Area. Top Global 500 and Top National 100 companies setting up independent R&D operations in Nanjing will each receive grants of up to RMB5m in support of their endeavour, while a one-time award will be granted to enterprises recruited into the city’s hi-tech-enterprise incubation plan and to enterprises recognised as hi-tech innovators. A maximum of RMB10m beyond any other funding from designated provincial projects will also be allocated in support of enterprises establishing national- or provincial-level R&D institutions in the city. For technological enterprises listed in domestic and foreign markets or on the new OTC board, a one-time subsidy will be issued and assistance will be given to guide them through the process of bond financing. In addition, Nanjing has also implemented a “technology innovation voucher” system since 2014 to support technological enterprises in enhancing their innovative capabilities. Last year, the city issued a total of more than RMB100m of “technological innovation vouchers” to 1,700 hi-tech enterprises, and in turn motivated nearly RMB5bn of R&D investment.