Ningbo is a coastal city and second largest city within Zhejiang Province. Based on the Reform and Opening Up Policy 1978, Ningbo became one of the first coastal cities to be opened to foreign trade in East China. Ningbo's vibrant economy has grown significantly owing to its various manufacturing industries as well as abundant natural resources in the surrounding coastal areas.
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Source: China 2013 Statistical Yearbook (uses 2012 statistics)
Sources: Local Labor Bureau and Social Insurance Bureau (2013)
Ningbo is only 160 kilometers south of Shanghai, but it has suffered for more than a century from the fact that Hangzhou Bay stands between it and Shanghai. However, unlike Shanghai, Ningbo has a deep-water port and is rapidly taking advantage of the newly-opened Hangzhou Bay Bridge as an increased regional transport route directly to Shanghai.
The 36-kilometer long Hangzhou Bay Bridge opened to traffic in May 2008, and stretches across Hangzhou Bay to Shanghai, reducing driving time from four to two hours. The construction of two bridges connecting the Zhoushan Archipelago off Ningbo to the mainland was completed in 2008. One of these bridges, the 5.3 kilometer long Xihoumen bridge, is the second largest suspension bridge in the world after the Pearl Bridge in Japan. It links the Jintang and Cezi islands and allows the passage of ships weighing up to 30,000 tons. The Jintang Bridge, linking Jintang Island and Zhenhai at Ningbo, is 27 kilometers long and enables the passage of ships weighing up to 50,000 tons. The two bridges represent the second phase of a huge continent-island joint project, launched by Zhoushan in 1999, to link the Zhoushan Archipelago with the mainland via five bridges. Construction of the other three bridges has now been completed. The bridges shorten the journey from two hours to half an hour.
The journey from Ningbo to Shanghai takes approximately three to four hours by rail and there are close connections to other major cities in China. There are two railway stations in the city, one in the north that handles freight and one in the south for passengers.
Lishe Airport operates more than 40 domestic routes as well as international flights to foreign capitals such as Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul.
Ports & Waterways
Beilun Port is ideally located in the middle of the coastline of mainland China. The port is situated at the confluence of the north-south shipping line and the golden waterway of the Yangtze River. The Port of Ningbo has the largest number of deepwater berths in China. The Port of Ningbo is China's major transfer and storage base for containers, iron ore, crude oil and liquid chemicals. It also acts as a transfer base for coal, grains and bulk cargo in Eastern China. In 2011, Ningbo Port cargo throughput reached 433 million tons, ranking third domestically and sixth worldwide. All of the top 20 global shipping companies have established offices in Ningbo Port.
In recent years the quality of the environment in Ningbo’s city center has greatly improved. The Ningbo metro system is expected to open in 2015.
The 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2016) of Zhejiang province defines Ningbo as the “economic center of South Yangtze River Delta”. Government goals for the city include transforming it into a major base of advanced manufacturing, modern logistics, energy, and raw materials, as well as a center for shipping finance. The latter goal is based on Ningbo’s excellent natural deepwater port, unique among nearby cities.
Ningbo is a city that enjoys the same rights of economic management as a provincial government would. In 2012, Ningbo’s GDP reached RMB 652.47 billion and the GDP per capita was RMB 85,413. In 2012, the tertiary industry accounted for 42 percent compared to 20 percent in 2002. The tertiary industry in Ningbo is set to become a new engine for the city. Between January and November 2012, 391 foreign-funded projects were approved in Ningbo. Total investment amounted to USD 9.156 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 7.1 percent.
Ningbo is an important industrial base and a major production base of grain, cotton, edible oil, and aquatic products. Industries include textiles, garments, machinery, petrochemicals, iron, steel, power generation and papermaking. Overall, the city has over 115,000 private enterprises. It is also considered to be the capital of stationery in China, with more than 800 companies producing one-third of China’s exported stationary products.
Ningbo has the capacity to refine 12 million tons of crude oil. It is also the largest injection molding machine production base in China, with around 50 enterprises accounting for 50 percent of the country’s annual production. The electronic industry is booming too, with more than 2,000 such companies registered in Ningbo. Ningbo Cixi is one of the three major home electrical appliance production bases in China – the turnover accounts for 30 percent of China’s total in this industry. With more than 3,000 factories in Ningbo, the city is a leading garment manufacturing city and has become the largest garment manufacturing base in China, accounting for 13 percent of the country’s total production.
There were 13,336 foreign-invested enterprises in Ningbo at the end of 2010. The scale of investment averaged USD 10.45 billion in 2010, which was up 130 percent year-on-year. Out of these enterprises, ten were valued at over USD 50 million, most of which were in the property sector.
Doing Business in the Yangtze River Delta 4th edition
Contrary to popular belief, the main focus of industrial development in Ningbo is not in the old city itself, but in Beilun City, which lies 27 kilometers to the east. This bustling city, which is about 45-60 minutes away from Ningbo, has expanded in recent years around the port and three major development zones – Ningbo Economic and Technological Development Zone, Ningbo Free Trade Zone, and Daxie Development Zone.
Beilun Port is an ideal place for developing ocean-going transport to North and South America and Oceania. It has already built trade and transport relations with over 600 ports from more than 100 countries and regions in the world, and more than 100 inland Chinese ports. The business scope includes imported iron ore, containers, crude and finished oil, liquid chemical products, coal, and the loading/offloading, storage, and transshipment of other bulk goods.
On Daxie Island next to Beilun, there are 40 deepwater berths including three 100,000-ton capacity berths and one 70,000-ton berth, with an annual capacity of 2.5 million TEUs. Operations began in 2006, with a total investment of RMB 3.454 billion being provided by CITIC, the investment arm of the central government. With a growth rate of 13.6 percent year-on-year, the GDP of Ningbo Daxie Development Zone reached RMB 14.5 billion in 2010. In addition, on Jintang Island (part of the Zhoushan Archipelago just off Ningbo), new container facilities and 5 new container terminals with an annual handling capacity of 14.3 million TEUs are being built, with support from COSCO and other investors. As of March 2013, Ningbo has 230 shipping liners running up to 1,700 sailings through its port per month.
Ningbo Economic and Technical Development Zone
Ningbo Economic and Technical Development Zone (NETD) is among one of China’s earliest and largest national-level development zones. It was established in October 1984, and covers an area of 29.6 square kilometers. In 2012, 47 new foreign-funded enterprises were approved in the zone with a total investment accumulating to USD 2.070 billion. The contracted FDI amounted to USD 980 million and the actually utilized FDI reached USD 730 million in the same year. Around 38 percent of the zone’s FDI comes from Hong Kong, 13 percent from Japan, 18 percent from Taiwan, and 18 percent from other South East Asian Countries. The United States and EU account for a 9 percent share each. Many multinational companies, including Esso, Samsonite and BP, have chosen NETD to conduct business in.
Ningbo Free Trade Zone:
Established in 1992 and covering 2.3 square kilometers, this zone has several functions including export processing, international trade, bonded logistics, and commodity exhibition. In June 2002, the Ningbo Export Processing Zone (NEPZ) was added, covering a further three square kilometers. With special preferential policies, the NFTZ and NEPZ operate together “inside the territory, outside the customs”. In addition, the zone houses one of the new Bonded Logistics Parks. Currently, more than 6600 companies from about 60 countries have invested in the zone. In 2012, 10 new foreign-funded enterprises were approved in NFTZ with total investment accumulating to USD 365 million. In 2012 the contracted FDI amounted to USD 141 million and actually utilized FDI reached USD 104 million.