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Nantong zone powers into new aera

  • Published: Sep 13, 2014
  • Source: CAE
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Advanced industries and services provide advantage

A successful development zone has made the Jiangsu city of Nantong stand out from its competitors in attracting investment, said local officials.

At the center of the Yangtze River Delta - one of the nation's economic powerhouses - the Nantong Economic and Technological Development Zone is one of the nation's 14 earliest development zones designed to boost the opening-up of the local economy.


Covering 183.8 square kilometers, it now has a population of 220,000.

Local statistics show that in the first six months of the year, the zone's gross domestic product reached 21.38 billion yuan, a 10.4 percent rise compared with the same period last year, while its import and export volume increased 17.4 percent to reach $2.74 billion.

But unlike the past when most development zones were successful, administrative officials in Nantong know their zone needs its own characteristics to maintain a leading position.

Those include a highlight on advanced industries.

With combined investment of over $15 billion, more than 800 ventures funded by overseas businesses are now operational in the zone.

Among them, more than 70 are high-tech operations invested by Fortune 500 companies.

Renowned companies that have projects in the zone include German medicine producer Merck, precision machine maker Surugash, daily goods supplier Daio from Japan, US new materials producer Chemtura, Sweden's airbag manufacturer Autoliv, Swiss pharmaceutical company Siegfried, as well as bicycle maker Merida from Taiwan and Jiuzhou New Energy from Hong Kong.

With these joint ventures, the Nantong zone is developing high-tech operations in new materials, biomedicine, electronics, precision machinery and others, making it one of the high-tech industry hubs in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Industrial parks

Nantong Economic and Technological Development Zone has developed a number of industrial parks to meet diversified demands of investors.

In addition to industrial parks for electronics and IT, precision machinery, medicine and health, new materials, and equipment manufacturing, local authorities have also set up the Nengda Business District for service industries, a bonded zone and an industrial park for famous local brands.

The Nantong bonded zone was approved by the central government in January 2013 and began operations last December. Local authorities said it's a new breakthrough in the city's opening-up.

Nengda Business District is seen as another example to illustrate Nantong's goal to become a "modernized new city". As a zone highlighting modern service industries, Nengda has more than 40 complexes and office buildings with total floor space of 1.7 million sq m.

The area is now home to an industrial park funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as operations by Insigma Software, Inspur Software, Teco Software, HSBC, Walmart and other high-end service suppliers.

More than 120 service outsourcing enterprises have settled in Nengda, creating 20,000 jobs.

To offer a better living environment for investors and employees, the Nantong zone built residential communities such as Shimaogongyuan and Oak Bay, as well as cultural centers, fitness centers, hospitals and international schools.

The local authorities are also making new efforts to build an innovation-oriented zone.

The Nantong development zone has attracted more than 200 tech companies by offering research related services.

Its research service system includes three working stations for academics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, a post-doctoral research center that has 11 branches, as well as 67 engineering research centers.

A number of high-profile scientists and tech professionals in the country have started businesses in the zone. In addition, international high-tech companies like Aisin have set up their research and development centers.

Local companies, entities and individuals have applied for 12,500 patents to date, showing the zone's strength in innovation.

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(From China Daily, 2014-09-12)