Shenzhen’s emerging marine industries fuel growth

Shenzhen’s marine industry has been touted as a key part of the city’s economic development blueprint, which is why local media have been buzzing this week about the China Marine Economy Expo underway at the convention and exhibition center in Futian district.

Unsurprisingly for the tech-obsessed city, “emerging marine industries” are now driving growth overall for the industry. According to the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Ocean and Fishery, the output of emerging marine industries in the first half of this year rose 6.7% YoY, exceeding the overall growth rate of marine industries in the city. 

A large number of Shenzhen enterprises in high-end marine equipment, marine electronic information, marine biomedicine and other related fields are presenting their wares at the expo, which runs until Thursday. 

Among the equipment companies, CIMC Croup and China Merchants Heavy Industry stand out. The sector generated sales of RMB 9.51 billion yuan in the first half of this year, up 3.7% YoY, yet it has been facing challenges to upgrade in recent years due to overcapacity. That has placed new emphasis on design capabilities, which has required a better focus on diversification. New technologies have been embraced by these companies in this pursuit. 

Huichuan Technology is another outstanding example of innovation-led change, this time in the marine electronic information sector. Its variable-frequency drive products have been widely adopted in wind power, oil, ships, ports and other fields. 

These firms are, in turn, fortunate to be based in Shenzhen. Last year, the city’s advanced information technology industry generated RMB 477.2 billion in revenues, up 10.9% YoY. Technological advances have been seeping into the marine field, with ships and marine engineering equipment manufacturers being the biggest adopters. In the first half of 2019, the added value of the marine electronic information industry was RMB 9.32 billion yuan, up 5.8% YoY.

In biopharmaceuticals, too, Shenzhen has some star performers. Haiwang, for instance, has formed a complete industrial chain covering product research and development, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales.

In biomedicine, development is at an early stage but looks promising. The first and second phases have been built at the Baguang International Biological Valley Dapeng Marine Biological Industrial Park, which has gathered a number of marine biological enterprises, scientific research institutions, public platforms and professional talents. In the first half of this year, the sector generated revenues of RMB 2.87 billion, up 5.8% YoY.

This field is highly dependent on cutting-edge research, which is why Shenzhen has been focused on building strong links between the industry, universities and other institutes. Its incubator is focused on longer-term development in basic research, resource acquisition, and drug innovation. Industrial zones include the Dapeng Marine Biological Industrial Park, the core of Baguang International Biological Valley, and Pingshan National Biological Industry Base.

New energy resources are vital to the development of the marine industry, of course. At this year’s expo, the “Hualong No.1” nuclear power technology of pressurized water reactor stands out. Capable of generating a million kilowatts, developed by CGN, such projects are the future of energy resources developed at sea.

In the first half of this year, the marine new energy industry generated revenues of RMB 9.48 billion, up 13.7% YoY. Shenzhen will encourage enterprises to accelerate the development of deep-water oil and gas fields and introduce large offshore oil and gas enterprises to set up here.

The industry is getting strong financial support, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises. The big banks are all actively involved, while specialist ocean funds and financial leasing are gradually bcoming more prominent. Data shows that the marine financial industry generated revenues of RMB 6.80 billion in the first half of the year, increasing 3.4% YoY.

The Qianhai special economic zone will play a vital role in this going forward. Shenzhen will encourage qualified financial institutions, marine engineering equipment enterprises and large ship enterprises to launch and set up financial leasing companies here.

At the heart of the expo is the Forum of Marine Economy Cooperation, sponsored by the Shenzhen Government. This aims to build a “Davos Forum” for the global marine economy, and organizers have invited more than 70 political, business and academic representatives, with more than 400 professional guests closely related to marine economy. The forum hopes to explore how to promote the high-quality development of the global marine economy, with Shenzhen playing a key role.

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