Special economic zone encourages robust, sustainable growth

  After 40 years of reform, opening-up and innovative development, the Xiamen Special Economic Zone in Fujian province has made remarkable efforts in industrial production thanks to its solid economic foundation, policies and broader market, said local officials.

  Dai Bin, director of the economic development bureau of the management committee at the Xiamen Area of the China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone, said: "Six years ago, the State Council approved Xiamen to establish a pilot free trade zone. We have become a special zone within the special economic zone."

  In the past 40 years, Xiamen has carried out practices and implemented the innovation-driven development strategy. It has gone through the process from restraint to reform, from imitation to innovation, and from manufacturing to creation. It has become one of China's major reform areas with the highest priority policy density, the greatest strength and measures.

  As a "special zone within the special economic zone", the Xiamen FTZ has made contributions to the economy of the Xiamen Special Economic Zone. With 2.5 percent of the city's land area, the FTZ contributes 13.6 percent of the city's GDP, 9.86 percent of local taxes, 30 percent of foreign trade imports and exports, and 46.6 percent of contracts using foreign capital. Since its establishment, the FTZ has promoted institutional innovation and launched a total of 498 innovative measures, of which 111 were national firsts, accounting for 51 percent of the Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone. Dai said that the Xiamen FTZ has formed regional shipping, trade and financial centers. The zone has further increased innovation, created a single window for international trade, and created a digital smart port, which further facilitates trade.

  In all aspects, the efficiency of customs clearance has been improved and the business environment of the port has been optimized.

  "We once again ranked as the most excellent port of in the country in terms of port business environment. This is the third consecutive year that we have maintained first place." Dai said.

  The Xiamen FTZ serves the national large aircraft strategy, forms a "one-stop" aviation maintenance industry structure, accumulates 1,036 Taiwan-based enterprises and takes the lead in building a cross-Straits youth innovation and entrepreneurship passenger base. On the first China Europe (Xiamen) train route, more than 1,000 trains have run in total. The route operator has launched the country's first Silk Road Shipping platform, and promoted the establishment of a cooperation mechanism with the Maritime Sea Silk countries.

  The Xiamen FTZ is also exploring the development of a digital economy, strengthening digital empowerment, releasing digital dividends, advancing the construction of digital free trade zones, the construction of digital trade and promoting high-quality economic development.

  It gives full play to free trade plus innovation and advantages, adheres to the combination of institutional innovation and functional cultivation and strives to build 14 key platforms such as aviation maintenance, financial leasing, and cross-border e-commerce to form an industrial agglomeration effect and economic growth momentum. It also promotes offshore trade, supply chain innovation, and international transit through institutional innovation. New business formats and new models, such as integrated marketing and cultural trade, have contributed to its high-quality development.

  Emerging industrial clusters

  By 2020, online retail sales in Xiamen reached 48.33 billion yuan ($7.58 billion), an increase of 22.5 percent over the previous year. The volume of express delivery services recorded 5.43 billion pieces, an increase of 27.8 percent.

  The added value of high-tech industries and strategic emerging industries above designated size accounted for 39.8 percent and 33.9 percent of the regulated industries respectively. Investment in high-tech industries increased by 19.4 percent, 10.6 percentage points higher than the city's fixed investment growth. Among them, pharmaceutical production was relatively fast, with a growth rate of 43.4 percent.

  There are 777 biomedical and health companies in Xiamen, and 45 percent of them are located in Haicang district.

  Li Shicheng, chairman of Xiamen Innovax Biotech, said: "Our company and Haicang have been developing together for more than 10 years. This is what Haicang has been doing all the time, and it is the financial strength of Haicang," Li said.

  In 2000, lead researcher Xia Ningshao's innovation team at Xiamen University began to cooperate with Xiamen Innovax Biotech with the support of the city's science and technology bureau. The team successfully developed the world's first hepatitis E vaccine and the first domestically produced and world's third divalent cervix.

  The domestic bivalent cervical cancer vaccine was launched in May 2020 and passed the World Health Organization PQ certification in October 2021.

  According to Li, the first domestically developed second-generation cervical cancer vaccine (nine-valent) has entered Phase III clinical trials and is expected to be on the market in 2024 or 2025.

  Xiamen Yealink has been working in the field of intellectual property communications for 20 years and become a high-tech enterprise in Xiamen. In the past two decades, Yealink has started from a small unit of more than 100 square meters to the self-built Yealink research and development building of more than 10,000 sq m. The company has developed from a single terminal product line to a complete set of corporate communications solutions. Yealink has grown and developed together with the Xiamen Special Economic Zone.

  Xu Wenjin contributed to this story.