VI-1 Question: Tianjin Binhai New Area is a showcase for regional economic development. What is its appeal to foreign investors? What are the development plans for the area?
A: In the 1980s, the development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone brought prosperity to the Pearl River Delta and in the 1990s, Shanghai's Pudong New Area fuelled economic takeoff in the Yangtze River Delta. Now, China expects to boost economic growth in the Bohai Bay Rim by creating the Tianjin Binhai New Area.
Tianjin Binhai New Area appeals to foreign investors in several ways: its location at the heart of the Bohai Bay Rim, its rich natural resources, well-developed road and public transit systems, as well as its advanced industrial technology.
Tianjin Binhai New Area has an area of 2,270 square km, including over 1,200 km of undeveloped saline and alkaline wasteland. Tianjin Binhai New Area is blessed by its proximity to Beijing and Tianjin, two of the largest metropolitan areas in China, and its closeness to the vast stretch of plains in the heartland.
Tianjin Binhai New Area is one of the most dynamic economic and technology development zones in China. From 1994 to 2005, its GDP grew at an annual rate of 20.6 percent, reaching 160.863 billion yuan in 2005. During this period, some of the top 500 companies in the world had set up 152 subsidiaries or branches in Tianjin Binhai New Area, and invested a total of US$18.7 billion.
Tianjin Binhai New Area is home to the largest comprehensive port in north China, whose cargo handling capacity ranks the sixth in the world. Tianjin port has deep-water shipping channels for ships with over 250,000 tons, and crude oil docking for ships up to 300,000 tons. A new Dongjiang Port with an area of 30 square km is being planned. Several transit facilities are under construction, including the Binhai International Airport, an 115-km express railroad and the Tianjiin segment of Beijing-Tianjin-Tanggu Expressway, and a 145-km highway between Beijing and Tianjin. Tianjin Binhai New Area is expected to grow to become a modern international transportation hub and logistics center.
The Chinese Government has approved the Tianjin Binhai New Area as a test site for reform initiatives. New finance and foreign exchange policies as well as land reform policies will be piloted there. New tariff and customs management systems will be introduced at the Tianjin Dongjiang Bonded Port Area. Hi-tech enterprises in the new area enjoy preferential treatment and are subject to a reduced income tax rate of 15 percent. For a certain period, the Central Government will earmark subsidies for the development of the Tianjin Binhai New Area.
According to the development plan, the Tianjin New Area will spread out along the Beijing-Tianjing-Tanggu Expressway and the lower reaches of the Haihe River. This "new hi-tech axis" will be a hi-tech manufacturing and research base, international transportation hub and logistics center, as well as an environmentally friendly residential community. The Tianjin Binhai New Area will boost the development of its neighboring regions.