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Pioneer spirit of Qingdao
City reaps benefits of reform and opening-up
A Qingdao-based sea rice research and development team led by Yuan Longping, China's "father of hybrid rice", attracted attention this year by growing rice in Dubai's deserts in the United Arab Emirates.
The fields in Dubai, which were irrigated with seawater, reaped a bumper harvest this summer. The maximum yield reached more than 500 kilograms per 0.06 hectares, said Zhang Guodong, deputy director of Qingdao Sea Rice Research and Development Center.
From left: A view of downtown Qingdao. Zhang Xiao / For China Daily; Qingdao hosts the sailing regatta for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Li Xueliang / For China Daily; The city has maintained trade relations with more than 700 ports in 180 countries and regions. Yan Jun / For China Daily
The success of Yuan and his team was typical of the progress made by Qingdao in the 40 years of reform and opening-up. The city in East China's Shandong province has witnessed much positive social and economic development.
"Qingdao has always attached great importance to freeing people's minds, due to which the city has grown in leaps and bounds," said the city government.
In 1992, for instance, after nearly seven months of discussions, the city government moved from downtown to a relatively remote eastern area in a bid to use its original location to attract investment. The initiative laid a good foundation for Qingdao's rapid economic expansion, according to the government.
After the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, Qingdao started a relocation of the old town's companies, the largest-ever in its history, to promote the industrial transformation and upgrading. About 125 companies have resettled to date, including Qingdao Iron and Steel Group.
"Relocation provided an opportunity for QDIS to rejuvenate," said the company. By upgrading its product structure, the company has developed expertise in products such as steel cord, tire bead wire and wire rod for welding, which are all at the forefront in terms of national market share.
Qingdao also insisted upon an innovation-driven strategy in those years, resulting in a batch of projects that helped attract a large number of research institutes and high-quality professionals.
The city's self-developed and fully automated container terminal at the Qingdao Port, for example, has been granted 32 Chinese patents and won 13 scientific innovation awards. Compared with a traditional port terminal, the intelligent port can increase work efficiency by 30 percent and save 70 percent of labor power.
Qingdao is the only place in China that was approved to be a pilot of national technological innovation projects and a national innovation-oriented pilot city. It has introduced 48 high-end R&D institutes and gathered 4,700 skilled personnel since the 18th CPC National Congress.
Due to the innovation strategy, the city enjoyed a rapid growth in its economy, with its GDP rising from 3.84 billion yuan ($557.29 million) in 1978 to last year's 1.1 trillion yuan.
Along with the in-depth promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative, Qingdao has deepened its cooperation with BRI-involved countries and regions in infrastructure, production capacity, energy development and maritime economy.
Statistics show that the city has placed 761 projects in these countries and regions, with the total investment reaching nearly $9.6 billion.
In four decades, Qingdao has built several high-level cooperation platforms and considers them key drivers for advancing the opening-up policy. It now boasts six State-level economic zones and four special areas supervised by Customs.
So far, the city has maintained trade relations with 215 countries and regions, as well as with more than 700 ports in 180 countries and regions. In 2017, Qingdao achieved a total of 503.35 billion yuan in imports and exports, up 15.7 percent year-on-year.
(China Daily 12/29/2018 page12)