Economic Watch: Economic powerhouse Shandong gains momentum in exports amid pandemic-Xinhua

Economic Watch: Economic powerhouse Shandong gains momentum in exports amid pandemic

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-02-01 16:07:30

JINAN, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- In the plant of Sunvim Group Co., Ltd. in the east Chinese city of Gaomi, production lines are running at full throttle as overseas orders pour in.

"Our exports reached over 500 million U.S. dollars in 2021, up 23 percent year on year and achieving a historic breakthrough," said Xiao Maochang, chairman of Sunvim in Shandong Province.

The group mainly manufactures textile products including towels and decorative fabrics and its export business went through a V-shaped recovery since the pandemic began.

Despite multiple challenges such as the COVID-19 resurgence, soaring prices of commodities and ocean freight, various companies in Shandong saw remarkable growth in exports last year, showcasing China's economic resilience and high-quality development.

Customs data showed that Shandong's exports grew by 34.8 percent year on year to 1.76 trillion yuan (about 277 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021, as the province's foreign trade volume hit 2.93 trillion yuan, up 32.4 percent from the previous year, another record high for the sixth year in a row.

The impressive figures solidify Shandong's position as an economic and export stronghold, with its growth rate of exports in 2021 ranking first among China's six principal exporters, including Guangdong and Shanghai.

What are the secrets behind the staggering numbers for Shandong? In the eyes of local entrepreneurs and officials, the increase was mainly attributed to high-level opening-up, favorable policy, proactive government services, a conducive business environment, and technological innovation.

Over the years, enterprises in Shandong tend to innovate their businesses and optimize product structure to promote transformation and upgrading, which becomes a driving force for foreign trade growth.

Statistics showed that the export growth rate of the high-tech sector in Shandong is much higher than that of the labor-intensive industry.

In 2021, Shandong's export of mechanical and electrical products reached 758.56 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 35.8 percent, accounting for 43.1 percent of the total provincial export value, while the share of labor-intensive products in the total export value has further declined.

In a high-speed engine intelligent plant of Weichai Power Co., Ltd, in Weifang City, workers are busy manufacturing large-bore engines, which are to be shipped overseas for power generation.

"Weichai has been adjusting product structure and laying out medium and high-end products to enhance its competitiveness," said an executive with the company, adding that Weichai's export of engines rose by 55 percent in 2021 year on year, and its export sales revenue recorded an increase of 60 percent during the period.

Meanwhile, better policy support and newly-signed trade deal also brought more development opportunities, with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the world's largest free trade pact, going into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

"We take a 'plan early, act early' approach to develop foreign trade," said Cui Hongguang, deputy director of the provincial commerce department, adding that Shandong has set up China's first RCEP comprehensive service platform to facilitate economic and trade cooperation.

In addition, a freight train service linking Shandong with over 50 cities in some 23 countries across Europe and Asia offered an alternative for companies against the backdrop of high ocean shipping rates.

"With the freight train service, cargo transported by our company to countries along the Belt and Road saw a year-on-year increase of over 40 percent in 2021," said Shi Yuqin, a manager from a Qingdao-based supply chain management company.

Many enterprises believe that, with the RCEP taking effect, the Belt and Road Initiative continuing to be advanced, and China expanding opening-up, the country's foreign trade will continue to grow towards high-quality development in 2022.