（Written by Huang Lixia / Translated by Zhang Xiaoyan）Located on the southwestern end of the Chinese mainland coast line and linking by sea routes to ASEAN, Fangchenggang in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is the core area of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone and an important node city connecting southern gateway cities and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.
Thanks to its geographical advantages, Fangchenggang has constantly enriched the connotation of opening-up and cooperation with the outside world, forming a new pattern of all-round opening-up and cooperation along the coastal and border areas in its land and comprehensively improving the level of open economy.
Since the period when the Chinese national 13th Five-Year Plan was implemented (2016-2020), the Investment Promotion Bureau of Fangchenggang has accelerated the pace of building a modern economic system of “sea, border and mountains”, focusing on key industrial sectors through industrial chain investment promotion, and actively engaged in the regional strategy of “Eastward Integration” and “Northward Connection”. In 2020, faced with the COVID-19, Fangchenggang has taken advantage of the new situation and made every effort to promote investment and business and focused on the “settlement of three types of enterprises in Guangxi”. Up to now, the total investment volume brought by the “settlement of national state-owned enterprises in Guangxi” in Fangchenggang ranks second in the region, and that brought by the “settlement of prestigious private enterprises in Guangxi” and the “settlement of enterprises based in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area” ranks third respectively, making the total implementation rate under these three categories ranking first in Guangxi.
Active efforts in land and sea to promote opening up to the outside world
Ever since the “Ho Chi Minh Trail by Sea” in March 1968, Fangchenggang has been releasing the potential of “sea”, making full use of “border” advantage and actively integrating itself into the building of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor under the “Belt and Road Initiative”. Over the years, developing from a remote and backward border town, Fangchenggang has transformed into the largest coastal port in west China, an important gateway of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and a bridgehead of opening up cooperation between China and ASEAN.
Growing and thriving from the sea port, Fangchenggang has a history of 50 years of port building. At present, Fangchenggang Port has more than 120 berths, of which 40 berths are above 10,000 tons, including 3 berths of 200,000 tons, and a number of port and shipping projects such as 400,000-ton wharf and waterway that are under construction. It has carried out economic and trade exchanges with more than 100 countries and regions in the world, with a cargo throughput of more than 250 ports staying at 100 million tons per year for eight consecutive years. Despite the impact of the epidemic this year, the cargo throughput and container throughput of the port have achieved unexpected growth. In the first half of 2020, the cargo throughput of Fangchenggang Terminal Co., Ltd. of Beibu Gulf Port was 52 million tons, with a year-on-year increase of 17%, including 262,000 TEUs of containers at a year-on-year increase of 43.7%. It is estimated that the throughput of the company will exceed 100 million tons, of which the figure of container throughput will be more than 600,000 TEUs.
Fangchenggang has long been the most active place for the exchanges and trade of local residents in the China-Vietnam border areas. It has five national first-class ports and five border trade zones (points), with an annual customs clearance of more than 12 million people. In recent years, Fangchenggang has actively engaged in the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridors. Taking advantage of the deep-water port and geographical location, Fangchenggang has opened cold chain special trains to Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Jinan, Chongqing and other major cities in China, as well as multimodal transport trains to the southwest region of the country. It has built a relatively complete multimodal transport system that connects port-rail combined transport, highway-rail combined transport and port-highway combined transport, playing the role of the most convenient main gateway and corridor linking China’s hinterland to ASEAN.
Both factors of land and sea are indispensable for the construction of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. For the construction of the new corridor, the Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government of Fangchenggang have issued the Implementation Plan of the Three-Year Action Plan for the Construction of the Southern Seaward Land-Sea Corridor (2018-2020), which defines to build a new pattern of all-round opening and development. According to the Plan, a regional international shipping center, an international logistics supply chain trading center, and an international bulk commodity trading center will be built. Taking advantage of the existing Dongxing National Key Development and Opening Pilot Zone, and Dongxing Border Economic Cooperation Zone, a comprehensive pilot city of new open economic system will be built, which will provide a number of national development and opening platforms, including a pilot zone of comprehensive reform of border finance and a border tourism pilot zone in Fangchenggang.
In recent years, with its foundation on connectivity further consolidated, and the opening of ports, wharves, berths, waters and the operation of international liners and trains increased, Fangchenggang has achieved lower logistics costs and better business environment to build an important gateway for the opening and development in the southwest and the central regions of China. It has also actively received the relocated industrial potential of and strengthened cooperation with businesses based in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and strived to realize all-round and high-level opening up.
Focusing on industrial chains to create a healthy industrial forest
To build a city featuring “dual land-sea corridor and southern gateway”, and to seize the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, the Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government of Fangchenggang have attached great importance to investment promotion. Investment promotion agencies such as investment promotion committee and project guiding groups have been established to usher in a new situation of attracting investment. Since the 13th Five-Year Plan period, 520 investment projects have been signed, with a total investment of over RMB 780 billion yuan. The contracted projects are mainly node chain projects in medicine and health care, culture and tourism, steel, copper and aluminum, port logistics, cross-border cooperation, electronic information big data, modern agriculture, etc.
Focusing on “strengthening leading enterprises, reinforcing chains and forming clusters”, Fangchenggang has actively carried out the investment promotion of industrial chain projects of the most needed links and successfully introduced projects such as the industrial park of hardware and copper bathroom products and the advantageous characteristic industrial cluster projects like marine biochip medicine and golden pomfret. In addition, the city authorities are planning to create industrial clusters such as ocean-based economy, deep processing industry in border areas, and high-quality calcium carbonate. Under the leadership, all counties (cities, districts) and industrial parks will further clarify the positioning of dominant industries, being able to plan and compile the industrial trees. In depth, they will also carry out the connection and matching of key regions, industries, enterprises and projects, creating a good ecosystem of industrial forests.
Targeted business promotion to support industrial development
In 2020, affected by the COVID-19, Fangchenggang has focused on industrial transformation and upgrading, taken strong measures to vigorously promote works aimed at attracting “settlement of three types of enterprises in Guangxi”, achieving a new chapter of investment promotion activities.
“Settlement of three types of enterprises in Guangxi” is a long-term strategy of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to promote industrial transformation and upgrading and to achieve high-quality development. Since the beginning of this year, Fangchenggang has conscientiously implemented the decision and deployment of the strategy covering national state-owned enterprises, prestigious private enterprises and enterprises based in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Taking attracting such enterprises to Guangxi as an important tool to cope with the downward pressure of economy and to promote high-quality economic development, Fangchenggang has actively promoted the strategy, with efforts made in “matching a number of enterprises, organizing a number of promotion, signing a number of projects, starting or completing a number of projects, and issuing a number of policies”. As of October 30, 2020, there are 139 signed projects under the strategy of “settlement of three types of enterprises in Guangxi”, with a total planned investment of RMB 368.433 billion yuan. Among them, 13 signed projects with a total investment of RMB 146.758 billion yuan are under the category of “settlement of national state-owned enterprises in Guangxi”; 59 with a total investment of RMB 102.229 billion yuan under “settlement of prestigious private enterprises in Guangxi”; and 67 with a total investment of RMB 119.446 billion yuan under “settlement of enterprises based in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area”.
Since the beginning of this year, giving full play to the platform advantages of the international medical opening pilot zone, the border tourism pilot zone and the cross-border economic cooperation zone, Fangchenggang has successively issued seven policies, including Incentive Measures for High-quality Development of Cultural Tourism Industry in Fangchenggang Border Tourism Pilot Zone and Opinions on Accelerating the High-quality Development of Cultural Tourism Industry. The policies are intended to vigorously support industrial development of cultural tourism, scientific and technological innovation, laboratory economy, renewable resources utilization and other key industries.
In order to improve the industrial chain and promote the development of industrial clusters, Fangchenggang has completed the preparation and planning of the “map” of attracting investment for key industries and the panorama of “industry trees” such as steel, copper and aluminum, pharmaceutical industry and modern agriculture, with a focus on major port industries, international medical opening pilot zone and border tourism pilot zone, cross-border economic cooperation zone. 142 projects in total under the “settlement of three types of enterprises in Guangxi” have been planned to be introduced, mainly covering six industries, namely, cultural tourism, medicine and pharmaceuticals, industrial manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery, and port logistics.
Among the projects introduced this year, there are not only projects that can offer major industrial support to accelerate the layout of leading enterprises and constantly play a leading role, there are also industrial cluster projects with chain extension and chain supplement, which have strong relevance and cover many industrial components of port logistics economy, marine economy and high-tech, with a view to continuously optimizing the industrial structure and project quality. Among them, the cooperation framework agreement signed with Guangxi Poly Properties, China Construction First Group and Cheng Cheng Group, has an estimated total investment of over RMB 120 billion yuan, with an investment of about RMB 20 billion yuan being put in place in the first phase development. The strategic cooperation framework agreement signed with Pacific Construction Group Co., Ltd., which ranked 24th of China’s top 500 enterprises, plans to invest more than RMB 50 billion yuan in five years in the construction of large ports, ports and navigation, key water conservancy projects, and cultural and tourism development of special towns. In consideration of supporting the iron and steel, nickel copper, aluminum and other projects, Fangchenggang focuses on introducing a number of downstream and supporting projects to build a copper-based new material industrial base and an aluminum high-end industrial park. At present, 61 projects have been signed in related industries, with a total investment of RMB 112.44 billion yuan, and 159 projects are under negotiation, with a total investment of more than RMB 300 billion yuan.
With the ongoing construction of national strategies like international medical opening pilot zone, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, the cross-border cooperation zone, and the border tourism pilot zone, Fangchenggang has expanded its circle of economic friends. Through a series of activities under the “settlement of three enterprises in Guangxi” this year, the city is now favored with a new opportunity featuring combined advantages, multiple incentive policies and reshaping of developing patterns. Standing at a new starting point for in-depth breakthrough, high-quality development and industrial upgrading, it has worked hard to tap its potential in local advantages featuring sea, mountain and border areas and made great accomplishments.
Source: China-ASEAN Panorama