The new district in east Qingdao (ZHANG RUIPING)
One can find that the word "Qingdao" is mentioned more than 10 times throughout the government work report delivered at the sixth session of the 12th People's Congress of Shandong Province. The city has made remarkable progress in financial reform, infrastructure construction, research and innovation, and branding over the past year. The provincial government holds high hopes for Qingdao to make even greater achievements in economic and social development in 2017.
Substantial progress has been made in building the Qingdao Wealth Management Center. In February 2014, Qingdao was chosen by central authorities as the first pilot region for comprehensive financial reform characterized by wealth management. This demonstrates that Qingdao's financial reform has officially become part of the national strategy.
By the end of 2016, there were 230 financial institutions and 38 listed companies in Qingdao, while newly increased deposits totaled roughly 100 billion yuan ($14.54 billion), and newly increased loans surpassed 100 billion yuan.
Also worth mentioning is Qingdao's ascension to the 46th place on the list of top global financial centers in September 2016, closely following Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen in the domestic financial center rankings.
The Qingdao Blue Ocean Equity Exchange has experienced sound and stable development, enabling the companies listed in the exchange to get listed in the New Third Board, China's National Equities Exchange and Quotations. Since its establishment, the Qingdao Blue Ocean Equity Exchange has focused on serving the financing demand of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It aims to build an ecosphere that is favorable to the growth of SMEs and to offer a comprehensive financial service platform encompassing a variety of trade categories.
In collaboration with Citic Securities, the center also unveiled Xinlanchou, a crowd funding platform. Since being launched last April, the platform has finished four crowd funding projects, raising a total of 27 million yuan ($3.93 million).
Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (ZHANG RUIPING)
Qingdao's subway Line 3, the first subway line in Shandong Province, has come into operation. It connects the Shinan, Shibei and Licang districts, running from the city's northern to southern areas and reaching hundreds of thousands of people. It takes 47 minutes to complete the whole journey, passing through 22 stops.
The subway is not only playing a positive role in improving the local transportation system and alleviating traffic jams, but also contributing to regional coordinated development.
Solid progress was made in carrying out projects such as the Jinan-Qingdao High-Speed Railway and Shijiazhuang-Jinan Passenger Transport Line. On December 24, 2015, the construction of the Jinan-Qingdao High-Speed Railway was commenced. With a total investment of roughly 60 billion yuan ($8.72 billion), it is expected to reach 307.8 km in length. The railway will span 35.24 km across Qingdao and is expected to come into operation at the end of 2018. Once finished, it will take only one hour to travel from Jinan, the provincial capital, to Qingdao.
Qingdao had its first direct intercontinental flights, with four routes being launched last year. In 2016, Qingdao opened four intercontinental routes to Frankfurt, San Francisco, Melbourne and Vancouver, propelling the implementation of Qingdao Airport's international airline network strategy.
Qingdao Airport (ZHANG RUIPING)
Innovation and branding
Progress was made in the construction of the Shandong Peninsula national independent innovation demonstration zone. On March 30, 2016, six national hi-tech industrial development zones in Qingdao, Jinan, Zibo, Weifang, Yantai and Weihai of Shandong Province were approved by the State Council to build the Shandong Peninsula national independent innovation demonstration zone.
To date, the Qingdao National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone has become home to 26 key laboratories above municipal level, 66 engineering and technological research centers above municipal level, five state-level scientific and technological incubators, and 13 public research and development platforms.
Qingdao was chosen as the location of the National High-Speed Train Technological Innovation Center. In September 2016, following the approval of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, the CRRC Corp. Ltd. and Qingdao jointly started constructing the National High-Speed Train Technological Innovation Center, the first of its kind in China.
The innovation center is committed to completing its construction targets and major goals according to its five-year plan, strengthening the supply of key technologies and enhancing the concentration of resources and coordinated innovation. The center plans to do so by intensifying cooperation and linkage between upstream and downstream industrial, innovation and capital chains. It also plans to realize the concept of opening up and sharing by establishing a cooperative innovation mechanism with domestic and overseas partners in technology, human resources, projects and standards in order to build a network of innovation open to the world.
The Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology has gained world wide acclaim. Built in 2015, the laboratory covers an area of 150,000 square meters and is comprised of a series of areas, such as the ocean science, blue life and marine observation sections.
Qingdao's time-honored brands, such as Tsingtao Beer, Dong-E E-Jiao, Hongjitang, Dezhou Braised Chicken and Zhoucun Clay Oven Rolls, have been developed. At the same time, big brands, such as Haier, Hisense, Inspur, Changyu and Sinotruk, have been promoted throughout the world. A total of 36 Chinese brands have found their way into the 2016 list of the World's Most Valuable Brands compiled by the World Brand Lab. Qingdao's Haier and Tsingtao Beer ranked fifth and 26th, respectively, among all the Chinese brands on the list. On the other hand, many growing brands, such as Goertek, Dishang and Redcollar, should be supported to expand their market shares both at home and abroad.
Copyedited by Bryan Michael Galvan