Located on the southeast coast of China, Quanzhou in Fujian Province was a major international trade port in China 1,000 years ago. Today, with the Belt and Road Initiative in full swing, the city, the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, is back in the limelight, playing an important role in connecting China with the rest of the world.
Being a large international port, Quanzhou is home to a huge number of Chinese who have gone abroad and can be tracked to more than 130 countries and regions around the globe. Their passion for their hometown's development is reflected in their investments in local factories and schools, charity donations and public welfare projects. They serve as an important driving force for local economic and social development, while acting as a bridge between Quanzhou and the wider world.
Quanzhou is also known for its thriving private economy. The past four decades have seen the birth of tens of thousands of private businesses and hundreds of famous brands. Today, the city boasts five industrial clusters: textiles and garments, footwear, petrochemicals, machinery equipment, building materials and home furnishings. Private businesses account for more than 90 percent of local businesses, with more than 100 companies listed at home and abroad. The city is now known as the capital of footwear, resin crafts and stone sculptures.
The Quanzhou model of privately run businesses playing a dominant role and light industry clustering is undoubtedly a success story of local economic development.
Quanzhou's development was once hindered by low road density, a shortage of expressways and insufficient seaport and airport throughput. Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, consisting of the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, in 2013, the city has continuously increased investment in its sea, land and air transport infrastructure to enhance connectivity.
With overseas Chinese native to Quanzhou serving as a natural bridge linking Quanzhou and other countries participating in the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, along with an improved transportation infrastructure bolstering Quanzhou's further opening up, the city's vision of becoming a pioneer in advancing this initiative is turning into reality.
Quanzhou is also a charming place, recognized as a garden city, thanks to its sustained attention to environmental pre-servation. All things considered, it is a telling example of China's externally oriented ancient cities that have remained beacons of progress in the tide of development in modern times.