China’s northern port city of Tianjin saw year-on-year gross domestic product growth of 3.4 percent during the first six months of this year, benefiting from the synergic development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province and from policies to boost the intelligent manufacturing sector.
Official statistics indicated that the city’s GDP touched 992.7 billion yuan ($148.1 billion) during the period. Earlier this year, the city said its 2017 GDP growth was 3.6 percent, down from the high of 9 percent seen in 2016 as it had to reorient its focus toward quality growth.
Chu Liping, deputy head of the Tianjin Statistics Municipal Bureau, said that companies from Beijing and Hebei invested 63.1 billion yuan in the city during the first half, accounting for 45.6 percent of the total domestic investment in Tianjin.
Companies from Beijing have made investments of around 59 billion yuan in Tianjin, “which are an indication that the northern port city is playing an important role in the decluttering of industries in Beijing,” Chu said.
The Binhai-Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park in Tianjin, an industrial park for companies based in Beijing’s high-tech hub Zhongguancun, welcomed 474 new companies from the capital city during the first half, Chu said.
Prominent among them are leading internet company Baidu’s innovation center, and e-commerce giant JD’s cloud innovation hub. At the same time, the city has also revved up its efforts to boost the intelligent manufacturing industry.
In May it announced plans to set up a 10-billion-yuan fund to boost the intelligent manufacturing sector and a 100-billion-yuan fund to support the artificial intelligence sector. This policy was a supplement to a slew of preferential policies for enterprises’ smart upgrading since last year.
Statistics indicated that during the first half, the industrial output of the wearable device manufacturing sector rose by 58 percent, while that of robots surged by 30.1 percent.
Liu Gang, chief economist at the Chinese Institute of New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Strategies in Tianjin, said: “The old industrial structure is hampering the city’s economic takeoff.”
Statistics indicated that the city’s GDP decline in 2017 came about after its economic engine Binhai New Area’s GDP fell from 1 trillion yuan in 2016 to 665.4 billion yuan last year.
“Tianjin’s economic transformation can come about only by attracting high-end intelligent manufacturing companies and leading professionals. This will boost the city’s efforts to tap into the growing demand for intelligent manufacturing industries,” he said.
Statistics indicated that by the end of July, 50,000 leading professionals have achieved a hukou, or a permanent residency certificate, in Tianjin, via the city’s Haihe Talent project announced in May.