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China's 'blue economy' takes off as marine industry transforms, upgrades

Date:2016-08-02 | From:FuDong

JINAN, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The coastal city of Rongcheng in east Chinas Shandong Province is known as Chinas "land of kelp" -- producing nearly half of the countrys sea tangle. The plant was mainly used for extracting cheap industrial iodine only a few years ago, when a local company saw new possibilities in the seaweed.

In 2008, Shandong Haizhibao Ocean Science & Technology Co., Ltd. introduced seeds from Japan and cultivated a new type of kelp that is thinner, shorter and more appetizing, using it to produce organic "green food" such as noodles and beverages.

The companys sales revenues have since increased tenfold, with products being exported to overseas markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States.

The development of Rongchengs kelp industry is a prime example of how Shandongs "blue economy" development strategy has allowed the province to take advantage of its numerous marine resources to build up its economy.

In April 2010, the State Council, or Chinas cabinet, approved the establishment of the Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone as one of three pilot zones for the development of Chinas marine economy.

The economic zone covers 159,500 square km of offshore waters and 64,000 square km of land in six cities and two coastal counties. A development plan for the economic zone was approved by the State Council in early 2011 as part of Chinas national development strategy. According to the plan, the Shandong provincial government will coordinate the development of its land and marine economies and strengthen exploration, especially in emerging marine industries.

One year after the plan was approved, Shandong has made significant achievements and become a national leader in exploring seaside economics.

According to Zhang Chaochao, director of the Shandong Provincial Development and Reform Commission, the economic zone has earmarked 14 sectors for improved development, including fishing, marine equipment manufacturing and marine eco-protection.

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