Counties and districts find their industrial niche to fuel local economy

By Li You| China Daily| Updated: March 6, 2024 L M S

After numerous efforts to upgrade their industrial structure and find driving forces for economic development, the seven counties or districts of Nantong, Jiangsu province, finally found paths for themselves.

Hai'an county is located at the northernmost part of Nantong. Due to its geographical location and transportation disadvantages, it had the lowest economic output in the city before 2003. In recent years, it has focused on the railway-centered logistics industry and built itself into an inland transportation hub known throughout Jiangsu.

Under such a development path, the private economy in Hai'an is contributing more than 70 percent of the region's GDP, 80 percent of tax revenue and 90 percent of new job positions, and has taken the lead in revitalization of traditional industries.

Rugao is a county-level city of Nantong situated in the north of the Yangtze River Delta. In recent years, Rugao has seized opportunities and established some scientific and technological innovation bases around Shanghai's universities. High-quality projects are incubated and developed in Shanghai, and then transferred to Rugao for commercialization.

At present, Rugao has established four incubators in cooperation with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Fudan University and other universities, with a total of 83 projects in progress. The new model of "research in Shanghai, manufacturing in Rugao" has attracted enterprises' investment.

Rudong county specializes in the maritime economy and aims to become a key area for coastal development. By expanding and strengthening emerging industries such as marine equipment, marine biomedicine, modern marine services and marine tourism, Rudong is fostering a modern marine industry cluster with outstanding innovations.

Qidong, which is only 66 kilometers as the crow flies from Shanghai Pudong New Area, began to set up industrial bases in its high-tech zone in 2017, creating an industrial park that complements Pudong's businesses. Currently, more than 80 percent of the around 500 settled enterprises in the area are from Shanghai. It has cultivated more than 20 new manufacturing projects with an investment of 500 million yuan ($69.5 million) each that commenced in 2023.

As an area adjacent to the river, the sea and Shanghai, Qidong enjoys being an intersection of national strategies, such as the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region. The local high-tech zone regards Shanghai and southern Jiangsu as the main areas to attract investment from and is accelerating the construction of an industrial hub.

Haimen district links to the main urban area of Nantong in the west. It is directly connected to Shanghai and some major cities in southern Jiangsu. As a construction demonstration area, it has a strong entrepreneurial and business atmosphere. Building a scientific and technological innovation belt along the river is of significant importance for Haimen's development.

Thanks to efforts that promote industry-university-research integration and the layout for future industries, Haimen identified 134 scientific and technological innovation projects in 2023 and the regional GDP reached 162.2 billion yuan that year.

Tongzhou district is situated on three sides of Nantong's downtown area and has a solid industrial foundation. In recent years, it has made efforts to promote the development of four major factors — industry, innovation, urban development and people's livelihood, striving to become a highland for industrial innovation.

Currently, the district has gathered a group of leading enterprises and scientific and technological projects, such as Gotion High-Tech and AlphaESS, and has rapidly grown industries such as energy storage and automotive electronics. Since 2023, Tongzhou district has added six national-level "little giant" firms, or novel and elite small and medium-sized enterprises that specialize in a niche market, and 179 newly identified high-tech enterprises. About 55 percent of the region's output value is contributed by the high-tech industries.

Chongchuan district, based on the province's "1650 industrial system" and industrial foundation, has accelerated the upgrading of traditional industries. The district has formed two traditional industries of shipbuilding and high-end textiles; three supporting industries of electronic information, high-end equipment and new materials; along with three leading industries in the internet of vehicles and intelligent connected vehicles, life and health, as well as digital industries. In 2023, an integrated circuit packaging and testing industry cluster in Chongchuan district was recognized as a provincial-level characteristic industry cluster for small and medium-sized enterprises. The Jiangsu Digital Transportation Industry Park was officially certified, which will promote the renewal of traditional industries and the expansion of emerging industries.

Besides the seven counties and districts, the performance of the Nantong Economic and Technological Development Area, the Suxitong Science and Technology Industrial Park and the Tongzhou Bay Demonstration Zone is also notable, officials said.


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