MOFCOM Ranks China’s Top Development Zones

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Sept. 29 – China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) released its 2010 Rankings of National Economic and Technological Zones on September 21. At present, China has 128 national-level development zones, 90 of which were included in the 2010 MOFCOM rankings.

According to the rankings, the top 10 development zones remained unchanged from 2009. Most notably, TEDA has been ranked the best national development zone in China for the 14th consecutive year.

China’s top 20 development zones overall are as follows:

  1. Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (Tianjin Municipality)
  2. Suzhou Industrial Park (Jiangsu Province)
  3. Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone (Guangdong Province)
  4. Kunshan Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangsu Province)
  5. Qingdao Economic and Technological Development Zone (Shandong Province)
  6. Yantai Economic and Technological Development Zone (Shandong Province)
  7. Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone (Beijing Municipality)
  8. Shanghai Caohejing High Tech Park (Shanghai Municipality)
  9. Dalian High Tech Zone (Liaoning Province)
  10. Hangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone (Zhejiang Province)
  11. Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone (Shanghai Municipality)
  12. Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangsu Province)
  13. Changchun Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jilin Province)
  14. Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Area (Liaoning Province)
  15. Hefei Economic and Technological Development Area (Anhui Province)
  16. Changsha Economic and Technical Development Zone (Hunan Province)
  17. Harbin Economic and Technological Development Zone (Heilongjiang Province)
  18. Ningbo Economic and Technical Development Zone (Zhejiang Province)
  19. Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Area (Anhui Province)
  20. Yangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangsu Province)

Newly approved zones

The State Council has approved a total of 74 provincial-level development zones since it started upgrading in 2009, 36 of which are included in the 2010 rankings. Among these new zones, the 10 highest ranked were:

  1. Yangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangsu Province)
  2. Zhenjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangsu Province)
  3. Xuzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangsu Province)
  4. Langfang Economic and Technical Development Zone (Hebei Province)
  5. Dongying Economic and Technological Development Zone (Shandong Province)
  6. The National Deyang Economic and Technological Development Area (Sichuan Province)
  7. Weifang Economic Development Zone (Shandong Province)
  8. Anqing Economic and Technological Development Zone (Anhui Province)
  9. Ma’anshan Economic and Technological Development Zone (Anhui Province)
  10. Rizhao Economic-Technological Development Area (Shandong Province)

Zones in Central China

Among the 21 national level development zones in the Central China region, the top 10 were:

  1. Changchun Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jilin Province)
  2. Hefei Economic and Technological Development Area (Anhui Province)
  3. Changsha Economic and Technical Development Zone (Hunan Province)
  4. Harbin Economic and Technological Development Zone (Heilongjiang Province)
  5. Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Area (Anhui Province)
  6. Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone (Hubei Province)
  7. Nanchang Economic and Technological Development Zone (Jiangxi Province)
  8. Zhengzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone (Henan Province)
  9. State level Taiyuan Economic & Technical Development Zone (Shanxi Province)
  10. Anqing Economic and Technological Development Zone (Anhui Province)

Zones in Western China

Among the 22 national level development zones in Western China, the top 10 were:

  1. Xi’an Economic and Technological Development Zone (Shaanxi Province)
  2. Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone (Sichuan Province)
  3. Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone (Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region)
  4. Kunming Economic and Technological Development Zone (Yunnan Province)
  5. Chongqing Economic and Technological Development Zone (Chongqing Municipality)
  6. The National Deyang Economic and Technological Development Area (Sichuan Province)
  7. Inner Mongolia National Hohhot Economic and Technological Development Zone (Inner Mongolia)
  8. Yinchuan Economic and Technological Development Zone (Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region)
  9. Shaanxi Aviation Economic and Technological Development Zone (Shaanxi Province)
  10. Shaanxi Aerospace Economic and Technical Development Area (Shaanxi Province)

In West China, unrest between ethnic groups appears to have had little effect on the ranking of the region’s development zones. Despite the deadly July 2009 riot that killed a reported 200 people and the slow in trade with Central Asia from the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, the Urumqi Development Zone ranked third best among the 22 ranked zones in the region in 2010, compared to its ranking of fourth in 2009.

TEDA

Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) ranked number one in economic strength, human resources and social responsibility, as well as in management systems. At the same time it received high marks for infrastructure capacity and technological innovation.

Established in 1984, TEDA is one of China’s earliest national-level development zones and has been leading development in Northern China. In the first half of 2011, the area’s GDP amounted to RMB88.6 billion, an increase of 24.2 percent. Industrial production value and fixed assets reached RMB292.76 billion and RMB26.06 billion respectively, while exports came in at US$8.64 billion.

TEDA’s advanced manufacturing industry cemented the base for its overall economic strength. Samsung MLCC, Great Wall Motors and John Deere all launched new projects in the area in 2010.

TEDA is developing strategic emerging industries as well: electronic information has formed a new industry chain and the Motorola tablet PCs have been put into production in the zone. TEDA has officially been named the cloud computing base for Binhai New District, and Tencent’s datacenter and HP’s solution center are planned to launch soon. Bio-pharmaceutics, new materials and new energy are increasingly contributing to the economy of the area. In addition, TEDA is a major manufacturing base for wind power equipment and lithium batteries.

Ranking criteria

MOFCOM stated that the rankings are made according to eight criteria:

  • Overall economic strength
  • Infrastructure capability
  • Operating cost
  • Human resources and social responsibility
  • Environmental protection and energy-saving capability
  • Technological innovation
  • Management system
  • Development efficiency

The MOFCOM evaluation shows that the 90 national development zones greatly differ in overall economic strength, technological innovation and infrastructure capability. Other elements, such as environmental protection and operating cost, didn’t make a significant difference to the final rankings.

On September 21, upon the release of rankings in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, MOFCOM announced that the current title of the rankings system, which is Evaluation Indicator System for Investment Environment of National Development Zones, will be changed to Comprehensive Evaluation System for Development of National Economic and Technological Zones.

MOFCOM will further revise its criteria for the evaluation, such as technological innovation, environmental protection, social harmony and stability. Some changes will be brought in to the indicator system as well, so the system will be more objective and operable in the future, said Fu Cheng, head of the Development Zones Bureau of Foreign Investment Administration, MOFCOM.

Dezan Shira & Associates is a boutique professional services firm providing foreign direct investment business advisory, tax, accounting, payroll and due diligence services for multinational clients in China. In particular, the firm specializes in matching foreign enterprises with development zones. For relevant advice, please email info@dezshira.com, visit www.dezshira.com, or download the firm’s brochure here.

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