Coastal city Tianjin, one of the nation's four municipalities, has 600 years of history and an exciting role to play in China's opening-up.
At the turn of the century, the central government called for the development and opening-up of the Tianjin Binhai New Area.
The area is also being developed to drive growth and economic progress in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei and the Bohai Bay rim region, and to provide a platform for interaction between China and the world. Tianjin is now a significant part of the Chinese economy and is starting to make waves on the global scene.
The Binhai New Area is starting to fuel growth, as the city's downtown area develops fast and the surrounding districts and counties follow suit.
In the 1980s, Shenzhen got all the attention. In the 1990s, the Pudong New Area in Shanghai was in the spotlight. Now, it is Tianjin's time to shine.
Binhai New Area
At the turn of the century, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China confirmed the role of Tianjin Binhai New Area, together with the special economic zones and the Shanghai Pudong New Area, in the nation's reform and opening-up. Since then, the area has received a great deal of attention.
The area's integrated and comprehensive reform and experimental plan has been approved by the State, including pioneering moves such as venture capital, financial leasing and foreign exchange reform. Innovation has become a powerful tool in the development of this area.
A number of large projects are now in full swing in the new area, including the Airbus A320 production line, the 10-million-ton oil refinery, the new-generation rocket facility and the Sino-Singaporean eco city.
Bohai Bank was the first national joint-equity commercial bank and the Bohai Industrial Fund was also established in Tianjin.
Modern manufacturing facilities are also emerging in the area, including electronic information, space flight and aviation, petrochemicals and equipment manufacturing.
Furthermore, modern service industries, including finance, logistics, conventions and exhibitions and outsourcing, are growing rapidly.
The Binhai New Area boasts the biggest international logistics center in north China, the largest bonded area in the country with preferential policies and a comprehensive port. The Tianjin Port is ranked sixth in the world by capacity.
The Binhai New Area is expected to become a high-end hub for modern manufacturing, a base for research and development, and the international shipping and logistics center of north China.
Tianjin wants to develop industries including hi-tech, modern pharmaceuticals, new energy and materials, environmental protection, equipment manufacturing, light industry and textiles.
In the hi-tech sector, the focus is on projects in the manufacturing of unmanned aircraft, spacecraft, digital video motoring chips, optical communications, film photovoltaic cell and wind power generation.
With high-quality projects backing up its development, Tianjin's industrial structure is changing.
The city is the nation's largest mobile phone production base. It has the biggest seawater desalination plant in Asia. It is also an important industrial base for new energies, computers, wind-generating facilities, civil aviation technology and hollow membrane production.
Adjacent to Beijing and Hebei province and with links to northeast China, north China, northwest China and even northeast Asia, Tianjin is an important window for global and regional economic integration.
The recently completed Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Express Railway has shortened the trip between the two cities to just half an hour.
(China Daily 09/25/2008 page13)