The China Marine Economy Expo had its debut last week in Shenzhen. It turned out to be a highlight of the local event calendar, generating RMB 2.5 billion of deals while attracting nearly 100,000 visitors and more than 455 exhibitors from 28 countries and regions.
The expo had a wide-ranging focus across three main sections: marine resources development and engineering equipment; shipping and ports; and emerging industries. Some impressive ocean-going vessels were rolled out, including the Xuelong 2, China’s first independently built polar research icebreaker, which made its maiden voyage from Shenzhen to conduct Antarctic research during the exhibition.
Among the many cooperative agreement signed, the “Blue Economy International Alliance” stood out. This included more than 170 Chinese and foreign enterprises. Meanwhile, a formal “Blue Partnership” treaty was signed between China and 12 Pacific island countries to focus on jointly developing an ocean-based economy, formulating marine space plans and training marine-industry talents.
The expo was only the start of what Shenzhen hopes will be the development of a major new source of industrial growth for the city. The marine industry is one of the city’s seven “strategic emerging industries”, and its importance was made clear on the first day, when plans for the Ocean New City project were unveiled.
Covering 7.44 sqkm adjacent to the new Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center, just north of the international airport in the Baoan district, Ocean New City is an industrial park that aims to be like nothing previously built in China. This state-of-the-art collection of facilities and institutes will take 10 years to build, and will hit its output peak in 2030-2035, by which time it expects to be generating RMB 300 billion of revenues annually.
Ocean New City will focus on “frontier areas” of the global marine industry, bringing together world-class companies to research and develop cutting-edge technologies. Besides being a key development project in the Greater Bay Area, it aspires to build a “strategic cooperation platform for global marine governance”.
Li Wenxiong, chairman of the state-owned Jianfa Group, which is leading development of the project, told local media that Ocean New City will be benchmarked to the world’s three major Bay Areas, and its development will follow world-class standards in planning and construction.
Li said Ocean New City will focus on five main industries: high-end equipment, electronic information, modern services, environmental protection services, and new energy.
The initial phase of development will focus on establishing collaborative relationships among companies, research institutes, financial institutions, and educational/training institutions. Second will be to build an open industry-public service platform, which promotes sustainable ecological development. Third will be the “sharing” phase, when the project’s laboratories, big data, and technologies are able to provide technology-sharing services for resident enterprises.
Li said his group had high hopes for the new project. “We hope to establish a unique ‘estuary personality’ for the new ocean city, exploring a new type of people-sea-city harmonious relationship that promotes restoration through development,” he was quoted as saying. “This will set a new paradigm for the process of ecological land-building and the symbiosis of land and sea.”