A strategic and pivotal city of the Belt and Road Initiative and a leader on the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, Quanzhou in Fujian Province of Mainland China is booming, with 15 industrial clusters yielding a production and sales value of more than RMB100bn
Quanzhou is a prefecture-level city located on the southeast coast of Mainland China and is one of the three core cities in Fujian Province. Both land and sea areas of the city are 11,000 square kilometres, with its coastline extending 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. It is among the first batch of cities announced by the State Council as a “famous historic and cultural city” on the grounds that it is a major origin of Minnan (southern Fujian) culture. Quanzhou is the world’s first “multicultural showcase” and is recognised as the first “East Asian Cultural Capital”. It is also regarded as a “museum of world religions”.
Quanzhou 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. The city has become a strategic and pivotal city of the Belt and Road Initiative, a leader on 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 vibrant city
In 2019, Quanzhou registered a GDP of RMB994.666bn, having ranked first in Fujian Province for 21 consecutive years, and constituted a quarter of Fujian’s production. It has established 15 industrial clusters with a combined production value of more than RMB100bn. These clusters include textiles and garments, footwear, petrochemicals, machinery and equipment, building materials and home furnishings, food and beverages, artefacts and decorations, construction, wholesale, retailing, logistics, e-commerce and tourism. While textiles and garments from Quanzhou account for 10 per cent of Mainland China’s output, sports shoes 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 material comes from Quanzhou, as does 40 per cent of the world’s.
Quanzhou is the “national capital of brands”, as the city owns 46 famous national brands and 156 famous national trademarks. There are 104 enterprises listed on the securities exchange, placing the city at the forefront of the nation’s prefecture-level cities. With established trade relations with 209 countries and regions around the world, the city’s total import and export value in 2019 exceeded RMB211.18bn, representing a year-on-year increase of 13.9 per cent, with exports alone reaching RMB145.35bn, a year-on-year growth of 21.9 per cent.
A pioneer in open-and-reform
Quanzhou is one of 18 regions in the country pioneering the open-and-reform 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 private sector”, “national demonstration zone in innovation”, “national innovative city”, “national demonstration city in e-commerce”, “experimental city in national-level market procurement trade” and “national comprehensive demonstration city for cross-border e-commerce”. The city has been authorised to pioneer and demonstrate comprehensive and in-depth reforms.
Target of 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, a national garden city, a national eco-friendly city, the best city for expatriates, a national civilised city and a national hygienic city.
Quanzhou has a total high-speed railway network size of 360 kilometres, with routes directly reaching Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and other cities. 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 55 domestic and foreign cities. In 2019, the airport received more than 8.4 million passengers, over one million of which were international travellers. There are 25 deep-water berths at Quanzhou Port, which handled 125 million tonnes of cargo and 2.5 million TEUs in 2019.
Suitable for living
Quanzhou’s bay area has completed an urban construction of 230 square kilometres, fostering an urbanisation rate of 67.5 per cent. Green coverage of the downtown area has reached 43.2 per cent, guaranteeing an excellent air quality rate of 96.4 per cent. The 13 prefecture-level-and-above potable water sources have maintained a 100-per-cent quality achievement rate.
Total coverage of information network
The city’s fibre-optic broadband network provides 100-per-cent coverage and core urban and rural areas are all covered by a 4G network. The city has launched 5G networking and base station construction and is included in the first batch of 50 cities in the country to implement 5G commercial operation.
Highly administrative, efficient and cost-effective
Quanzhou leads the province in offering zero fees for start-ups. It is also the first pilot city in the province to advance reforms in the commercial system and has taken the lead in launching “multi-certificate integration”, clusterised registration, simplified enterprise deregistration and service by appointment. After offering a new “one-stop” administrative service centre and implementing a “one number, one window, one network” new service model, the city was praised by the State Council for its efforts in streamlining the regulation of administrative approval procedures and facilitation of industrial and commercial registration.
Keeping talents “at bay”
Under the “talented bay area” plan, the city registered 53 academic researcher workstations, 71 professional workstations, and 20 post-doctoral workstations. It also introduced 40 state-of-the-art scientific research institutions. In 2019, the city had identified 7,508 newly qualified high-level professionals and nine teams of high-calibre candidates. There are now 113 enterprises experimenting with methods to independently identify high-level talent. Newly introduced industries are in desperate need of some 10,400 university graduates and 37,000 new technical professionals.
Burgeoning economic platforms
Quanzhou vows to continue promoting the construction of the National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone while also committing to building a “Quanzhou Chip Valley”. It has introduced and established several high-end platforms such as 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, all of which display strong technological innovation capabilities.