It has been one year since east China's Shandong Province was approved as the first national pilot zone for shifting growth drivers by the State Council, China's Cabinet.
Shandong has achieved remarkable economic progress since reform and opening up began, relying on traditional industries such as iron and steel, textiles, and chemical engineering. However, the industrial structure dominated by heavy industries has restricted the province's development in recent years. Shandong also faces daunting tasks in dissolving its excess capacity and fighting pollution.
Shandong has set out to develop emerging industries such as new-generation information technology and high-end equipment manufacturing industries in a plan to revolutionize growth drivers.
Local government has also stepped up institutional innovation and reform to create a favorable business environment. Zibo City in Shandong has recently launched a new policy allowing enterprises and individuals to secure administrative approval before they have prepared all the required documents.
Shandong is also working to expand its opening up policy in order to integrate with the Belt and Road Initiative and become a new frontier of open trade. Hosting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in its coastal city of Qingdao in June 2018 represented a great leap in this regard.
To buoy the economy further, local officials need to continue to free their minds and expand their horizons and not be afraid of making mistakes. The difficulties enterprises face in securing funding, which has become a stumbling block for the local economy, should be addressed. Education and medical care should also be improved in order to draw more talent to contribute to local development.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article originally published in Outlook Weekly on January 28)