Weifang Special: New industries drive rise of local high-tech zone
Updated: 2013-05-07 08:11
By Wang Qian (China Daily)
A public biomedicine lab that offers technology services to local pharmaceutical enterprises. Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily
The Beiqi Foton production facility in Weifang is projected to have a sales revenue of 50 billion yuan by 2015. Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily
A high-tech zone in the Shandong city of Weifang has increased its competitiveness by fostering a number of leading enterprises in emerging and advanced industries.
Founded in 1991, the 110-square-kilometer Weifang High-Tech Industrial Development Zone was one of the first State-level high-tech parks. It has also been named a national demonstration park for biomedicine and advanced manufacturing.
"We are taking advantage of our high technologies, talent pool and innovative strength to develop a number of famous brands and sharpen our core competitiveness," said Song Chifeng, director of the zone's management committee.
The zone is now home to more than 1,000 high-tech enterprises, including 47 big companies that each have annual revenue of more than 100 million yuan ($16.2 million).
Combined revenues from the high-tech enterprises now account for 65 percent of the zone's total.
These companies are mainly engaged in advanced equipment manufacturing, new materials, biomedicines, optoelectronics, clean energy, electronic information as well as software and service outsourcing.
One of the heavyweight players in the zone is Weichai Power Co, a subsidiary of the Shandong Heavy Industry Group.
It is one of China's leading manufacturers of powertrains and components for commercial vehicles and building machinery. The sales of its heavy-duty truck engine account for 40 percent of domestic market share.
In recent years the company has actively tapped into overseas markets.
Its products have been exported to more than 80 countries and regions.
Last year, it acquired a 75 percent stake of Italy's Ferretti Group, the largest luxury yacht manufacturer in the world.
In September, Weichai spent 738 million euros ($965 million) to purchase 25 percent of shares in Kion Group, the world's second-largest forklift manufacturer and a global leader in hydraulic technology. The deal marked the biggest direct investment by a Chinese company in a German company to date.
These deals have helped Weichai improve its sales and technology at home and abroad. The company now has branches in the United States, Singapore, France, Russia, Italy and Germany.
Beiqi Foton, China's largest manufacturer of vans, trucks and buses by sales, is also pouring heavy investments into the Weifang high-tech zone.
Construction on its 4.5-billion-yuan new-energy vehicle production facility began in 2010. The second phase of the project is scheduled to be completed this year. Its sales revenue is projected to reach 50 billion yuan in 2015.
In the field of optoelectronics, more than 200 competitive enterprises have settled in the zone, making it the largest industrial park of its kind nationwide.
One of the leading companies in this field is Weifang Goer Light Co, which supplied components to a number of the world's renowned brands, such as Siemens, Matsushita, Samsung, Hewlett Packard and LG electronics. One of its products, an advanced Bluetooth headset, has the largest market share worldwide.
To help new businesses grow, the zone's management committee has allocated 60 million yuan to establish a public technology center for software development that offers services for more than 140 companies in the zone.
The zone has favorable polices for introducing talent, including tax breaks, preferential loans, subsidies for business startups and human resources support.
In addition, the zone's management committee said it will set aside a special fund of 100 million yuan to help enterprises recruit and train skilled workers every year, and 10 million yuan will be used to reward those who have made great achievements.
Combined revenues of the high-tech industries are projected to hit 300 billion yuan in 2015, accounting for 90 percent of the zone's total, said committee director Song.
(China Daily 05/07/2013 page7)