A new zone in which the marine economy will be promoted has been announced for the nation’s largest archipelago, signaling another phase in China’s development.
The establishment of the Zhoushan Archipelago New Area is a major initiative of the central government in advancing the overall strategy of marine development and a key step in fulfilling the objectives of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), said Fan Hengshan, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission.
The State Council approved the establishment of the new area on June 30. It “will propel the country’s regional development from land to sea, and marks the fact that the pilot projects of the national marine economy have entered the implementation phase”, Fan said.
The new area in East China’s Zhejiang province will be transformed into a place for international transportation and the processing and trade of commodities and be a gateway for East China to interact with the world, according to the plan.
“The development of Zhoushan, which is situated at the junction of China’s east coast and the Yangtze River, will drive the economic growth of the Yangtze River Delta,” Zhejiang Governor Lu Zushan said.
A marine industrial base has been formed in Zhoushan, pillared with port industries, marine tourism and marine fisheries, Lu said.
The marine economy contributed 68 percent of Zhoushan’s GDP in 2010, according to the provincial government.
Zhoushan has a population of 1 million people living in two counties and two districts and comprises 1,390 islands that together account for 1,440 square kilometers. It also has a sea area of 20,800 sq km.
“The islands of Zhoushan will be developed in accordance with their characteristics for various functions, such as marine tourism, advanced manufacturing and clean energy,” said Liang Liming, the Party chief of Zhoushan.
Prior to Zhoushan, Pudong New Area in Shanghai, Binhai New Area in Tianjin and Liangjiang New Area in Chongqing were established by the central government.