Shandong, a coastal province bordered by the Bohai Sea to the north and the Yellow Sea to the southeast, is an important industrial hub in northern China. As the only province with representatives of all of China’s 41 industrial sectors, Shandong has long been one of the country’s most economically developed provinces. However, the province, leaning too heavily on traditional manufacturing, is now falling behind Guangdong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and other coastal provinces.
It was against this backdrop that the State Council in 2018 approved a project called the Shandong Comprehensive Test Area for New and Old Kinetic Energy Conversion. The project, essentially the creation of an intra-provincial zone that includes three major cities—Jinan, the capital of the province,Qingdao, and Yantai, as well as designated areas in 14 other cities, aims to facilitate the coordinated development of hi-tech industries within the province.
Over the past five years, Shandong has steadily produced an abundance of technological breakthroughs across multiple disciplines. In 2021, the world’s first magnetic levitation train to run at a speed of 600 km per hour made its debut in Qingdao. In 2022, the world’s first deep-sea floating farm harnessing both wind and solar power began operation in Yantai. In the same year, Qingdao saw the completion of Guoxin-1, the world’s first 100,000-ton floating fish farm.
The tapping of the unreleased potentials of hi-tech industries could be the key to a major industrial upgrade.
In 2022, Shandong’s GDP reached 8.74 trillion yuan ($1.3 trillion), up 5.4 percent year on year, with hi-tech industries accounting for 48.3 percent of the region’s gross output.