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Blue economy becomes new growth engine
Published on: 2013-07-22
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altRecent data suggest that China's first "blue economy" zone in East China's Shandong province has become a new engine for growth -- and one that grew faster than the entire provincial GDP in the first quarter.
The sector recorded a growth rate of 10.2 percent in the first quarter, exceeding the provincial average by 0.5 percent. Its total output last year hit 2.4 trillion yuan ($391 billion), accounting for one-fifth of the nation's total marine output, according to statistics from the Shandong Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Zhang Wufeng, director of the NDRC, said the data indicates that the province has become a pioneer in the nation's maritime strategy of developing an efficient and environmentally-friendly seaside economy.
In April 2010, the State Council, China's cabinet, approved the establishment of the Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone as one of three pilot zones for the development of China's marine economy.
The economic zone covers 159,500 square km of offshore waters and 64,000 square km of land in six cities and two coastal counties.
A development plan for the economic zone was approved by the State Council in early 2011 as part of China's national development strategy. According to the plan, the Shandong provincial government will coordinate the development of its land and marine economies and strengthen exploration, especially in emerging marine industries.
In just two years since the economic zone was established, the area has encountered unprecedented growth in maritime equipment manufacturing, oceanic chemicals, fishing, transport as well as tourism.
According to Zhang, marine-related companies in coastal cities like Qingdao, Yantai and Weihai are taking advantage of the plan to expand their businesses or upgrade their services.
Founded in 1998, the Yantai-based Bohai Ferry Co Ltd, is now the nation's biggest roll-on/roll-off (RORO) transportation enterprise, and it has revitalized itself by riding the wave of the "blue economy." 
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