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Print Edition> Business
UPDATED: June 17, 2011 NO. 25 JUNE 23, 2011
Shifting Industries
Coastal city Beihai aspires to revive its economy by developing its electronic information industry

PICTURESQUE SEASHORE: Beihai is famous for its Silver Beach (pictured) and many other scenic attractions (WEI KE)

Against a clear sky, the blue sea hums along a shining beach, with villas in the distance. This beautiful scene is in Beihai, in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Situated on the edge of the South China Sea, Beihai has long been famous as a tourist city. Its Silver Beach, which stretches 24 km, is reputed as the best beach in China. Tourism and real estate were once the main industries supporting its development.

From 1992 to 1993, the city experienced a severe real estate fever due to overbuilding. When the bubble burst, the city's economy collapsed, resulting in a surge of bad assets and mounting debt.

"We have realized that to achieve a sustained development, we need to have modern industries," said Lian Younong, Mayor of Beihai. "It's far from enough to only have tourism and real estate. Without modern industry, a single financial crisis can lead to the city's economic collapse."

For years, the Beihai Municipal Government has been formulating a plan to revive the city's economy. The government finally decided to develop the electronic information industry as its pillar industry because of its high added value and minimal effects on the environment.

Since Beihai brought in the electronic information industry in 2008, the industry has experienced a sound growth.

"By 2015, we aspire to strike a balance between the electronic information industry and other industries, including the petrochemical industry and port-related industry," Lian said.


Indeed, Beihai's successful industrial shift owes greatly to the Central Government's strategic planning for Guangxi—development of the Beibu Gulf Economic Zone.

Facing the Beibu Gulf to the south, Guangxi is the only region that bridges China and ASEAN countries through land and sea channels.

To promote China-ASEAN cooperation and also to boost the economic development of Guangxi, the Central Government approved the Guangxi Beibu Gulf Economic Zone Development Scheme on January 16, 2008. Thereafter, the economic zone was incorporated into the national strategy. The Beibu Gulf Economic Zone was established to be a logistics and trade base, a manufacturing base and an information exchange center for China-ASEAN cooperation.

The zone covers four cities of Guangxi, namely, Nanning, Beihai, Qinzhou and Fangchenggang, and two logistics centers in Yulin and Chongzuo.

It is against this backdrop that Beihai decides to build itself as an international electronic information production base of the Beibu Gulf. The huge ASEAN market provides it with bright development prospects.

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