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The splendid transformation of Ningbo in the past 40 years since reform and opening up
2018-10-28Text Size: A A A

Achievements of Ningbo: From a Small Port City to a Modern International Port City


The industrial structure continues to upgrade. The three industrial structures have evolved from 32.3:48.0:19.7 in 1978 to 3.2:51.8:45.0 in 2017, basically forming an industrial development system led by the new economic kinetic energy such as intelligent economy, with advanced manufacturing and modern service industry as the main body, and supported by modern agriculture. The added value of the primary industry increased from 650 million yuan in 1978 to 31.41 billion yuan in 2017, an average annual increase of 4.2%. The added value of the secondary industry increased from 970 million yuan in 1978 to 510.55 billion yuan in 2017, with an average annual growth rate of 14.8%. A modern manufacturing system has been basically established with 8 superior industrial clusters over 100 billion yuan. 162 national "single champion" have been cultivated. The added value of the tertiary industry increased from 400 million yuan in 1978 to 442.73 billion yuan in 2017, with an average annual growth rate of 13.8%. The balance of RMB deposits and loans of financial institutions reached 1,739.25 billion yuan and 1,712.53 billion yuan respectively, which was 3465 and 2488 times that of 1978.

The private sector is the biggest highlight of Ningbo’s economy. The private sector, from scratch and from weak to strong, has become the main drive for development, contributing 80% of the city's tax revenue, about 65% of regional GDP and exports, 85% of jobs, more than 95% of listed companies and high-tech enterprises. 17 Ningbo enterprises ranked among the “Top 500 Chinese Private Enterprises in 2017”, ranking seventh in the country.

Ningbo’s status as an international port has been fully established, and the open economy is pioneering. In 1978, the cargo throughput of Ningbo Port was only 2.14 million tons. In 2017, the cargo throughput of Ningbo Zhoushan Port was 1.01 billion tons. It is the world's first over-1-billion –ton port, and its throughput ranked first among the ports in the world for 9 consecutive years. The container throughput reached 24.61 million TEUs, ranking third in the country and fourth in the world. In 1985, the city's foreign trade import and export volume was only 0.1 billion US dollars. In 2017, it reached 760.01 billion yuan (US$112.2 billion). It is the first city in Zhejiang Province and the eighth in the country with import and export volume exceeding 100 billion US dollars.

Innovation drives accelerated development. Research and experimental development (R&D) investment accounted for 1.66% of GDP in 2010, and the number of invention patents increased from 1,209 in 2010 to 5,382 in 2017. The number of innovative entities has increased significantly, cultivating 69 provincial-level enterprise research institutes, 123 municipal-level enterprise research institutes, and 390 provincial-level high-tech enterprise research and development centers.

The brilliant modern city

In the early days of reform and opening up, the urban area of Ningbo was small, only 18.3 square kilometers. In 2017, the urban area was expanded to 3,730 square kilometers, and the urban built-up area reached 345.49 square kilometers. The population of the city has grown from 4.58 million in 1978 to 8 million in 2017. In 1978, the proportion of non-agricultural population was 13.9%. In 2017, the urbanization rate reached 72.4%. The level of urban-rural integration is at the forefront, and Cixi and Yuyao rank among the top 20 counties (cities) in the country. In 2017, the income ratio of urban and rural residents narrowed to 1.8:1, lower than the national average of 2.71:1.

Modern transportation construction is updating day by day. The main skeleton of the “one ring and six shots” highway has been basically formed. The total length of the expressway has reached 513.9 kilometers, and the density of the road network is at the level of moderately developed countries. The central urban area has formed a “four-vehicle integration” public transportation system with the rail transit as the backbone, conventional bus as the main body, taxis as supplements, and public bicycles as the extension.

The quality of people’s life has increased significantly. In 2017, the per capita disposable income of urban residents reached 55,656 yuan, 1.53 times that of the whole country, 181.9 times that of 1978; the per capita disposable income of rural residents was 30,871 yuan, 2.30 times that of the whole country, and 139.1 times that of 1980. The income of urban and rural residents ranks second and first in the 15 sub-provincial cities.

The social security system continues to improve. A unified urban and rural basic old-age pension and basic medical insurance system has been basically established. At the end of 2017, the number of employees participating in basic old-age care, basic medical care, unemployment, work-related injury and maternity insurance reached 4.296 million, 3.808 million, 2.693 million, 3.309 million and 2.662 million respectively. The participation rate of the three medical insurances in urban and rural areas exceeded 95%, and the medical insurance system for major diseases was fully covered, and the level of medical insurance treatment ranked among the top cities in the country.

Education and medical care is booming. In 1978, there were 902,000 students at all levels of schools, and the number of students enrolled in 2017 increased to 1.316 million. A public pre-school education service system covering urban and rural areas has been built. And all districts, counties (cities) have passed the basic equilibrium assessment of national compulsory education development. The number of colleges and universities has grown from 5 in the 1980s to 16, and the number of full-time college students has reached 156,000. The medical and health services have been steadily improved, basically forming a network system for urban and rural public health management covering the whole city. In 2017, there were 4,157 medical and health institutions of various types, 4.38 times that of 1978.

The overall quality of the environment is getting better. In 2017, the urban air quality rate of excellent and good reached 85.2%, and the ambient air quality according to the comprehensive index ranked 17th among 74 key cities in the country. Ningbo will continue to promote “waste water treatment” and complete key projects such as drinking water source protection, heavy pollution industry remediation, and backward production capacity elimination. The coverage rate of rural domestic sewage treatment administrative villages reaches 90%, and Ningbo is the first to create “sewage zero straight discharge area”. It has become the first batch of circular economy pilot cities in China, and Ningbo Chemical Industry Zone and Ninghai Lingang Circular Economy Demonstration Zone have initially formed a circular economy industrial chain.

Open Port, Innovative Power and Shared by People

Five experiences of Ningbo since reform and opening up are as follows:

Experience 1: Unswervingly implement the strategy of "reviving the city with the port and promoting the port with the city"

Ningbo port is the city’s largest resource, which determines the future and destiny of Ningbo and its rise and fall. As early as the beginning of reform and opening up, Ningbo has cultivated the strategic thinking of "reviving the city with the port and promoting the port with the city."

In 1994, the eighth party congress of the city established "revive the city with the port and promote the port with the city" as the leading strategy for building a modern international port city. Since then, successive blueprints of the municipal party committees and municipal governments have been drawn to the end, and one after another have put the port function and the driving role into the strategic position of Ningbo’s development. Under the guidance of the strategy of "reviving the city with the port and promoting the port with the city", Ningbo Port has developed rapidly and has grown from a small regional river port to a world-class port. It has played a leading role in the economic and social development of both the city and the port. Ningbo's status in the national strategy has been continuously improved, and it has become the first batch of open cities, planned cities, and sub-provincial cities in the coastal area. It is among the economic centers of the south wing of the Yangtze River Delta and one of the five urban agglomerations in the Yangtze River Delta.

Experience 2: Give full play to the biggest advantage of opening up to serve the national opening strategy

In the 40 years of reform and opening up, Ningbo has firmly grasped the historic opportunity of every major decision-making of the country's opening to the outside world. In the 1980s and 1990s, Ningbo successively seized the opportunity of foreign investment and foreign trade development. Since the beginning of this century, Ningbo has seized the opportunity of “going out” and participating in international competition in all aspects. Now, Ningbo is rushing to seize the country's major opportunity to comprehensively build a new open structure, create a national “Belt and Road” construction pilot zone, and actively apply for free trade zones and free trade ports. "It can be said that Ningbo has taken a solid step in opening up to the outside world, and the vitality and pattern of economic and social development have been further enhanced."

Experience 3: Adhere to the reform strategy combining follow-up and innovation

“Good entrepreneurship and innovation” is the cultural trait of the people in Ningbo. The history of reform and opening up in Ningbo is a vivid history of entrepreneurial innovation in Ningbo. Ningbo Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government fully guided and inspired people in Ningbo, and actively encouraged them to “wash their feet on the field” to “do business in the world”, forming a strong atmosphere for thousands of households to engage in entrepreneurship and do everything possible to promote innovation. The vast army of pioneering merchants at home and abroad created a market body featuring cluster development with vitality. They vigorously carry forward the spirit of reform that is not afraid of hardship and dare to be the first, and adopt a follow-up reform strategy for reforms that are not accurate, unsure, or do not have the conditions for first-time test, and actively learn reform measures in other regions. If they are proved to be effective in practice, they will be absorbed and used in time.

Experience 4: Strive for all external positive factors to promote Ningbo's development

Since the reform and opening up, the sustained, rapid and healthy development of Ningbo's economy and society cannot be separated from the joint action and synergy of external positive factors. Upward, Ningbo actively strives for the strong support of the central and Zhejiang provinces for its development. The improvement of Ningbo's status by the central government, its positioning in the national strategy, the state's strong investment in Ningbo, the joint efforts of Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee and Provincial Government to promote the integration of Ningbo Port and Zhoushan Port, and their support for the construction of the Ningbo Port Economic Circle and the urban circle all highlight the concern and support of the state and the province for Ningbo’s development, and have produced a huge leverage effect. Outward, Ningbo actively mobilized and attracted Ningbonese at home and abroad and people who help Ningbo to participate in the construction of Ningbo. Encouraged by Deng Xiaoping's instructions to mobilize the world's 'Ningbonese' to build Ningbo, the Ningbonese at home and abroad have gone all out to develop and open up Ningbo, and directly invest or match the bridge to support the construction of their hometown.

In recent years, Ningbo has further promoted the “return of Ningbo merchants” and the “return of Ningbo talents”. At the same time, relying on the location advantages of being adjacent to Shanghai and located in the Yangtze River Delta, we will actively connect with the development of the Yangtze River Delta, and actively accept Shanghai’s radiation, carrying out regional cooperation in depth and taking advantage of Shanghai's strong financial strength, developed scientific and technological talent resources and internationalization functions to promote Ningbo's leaping development.

Experience 5: Develop for the people, rely on the people, and   achievements shared by the people

The people are the main body of development. Only by always persisting in developing for the people, developing by relying on the people, and achievements being shared by the people, can development and reform be consistently and firmly supported by the overwhelming majority of the people and can the people's heart and the inexhaustible source of power for the development of the cause be maintained. In the early days of reform and opening up, Ningbo adhered to the principle of “let the people fish and keep fish in their hands”, allowing people to enjoy the fruits of development to the maximum extent and making the private economy thrive. In the period of reform and opening up, facing changes in the pattern of interests and profound adjustments, Ningbo is striving to build a social environment with equal opportunities, improve the relatively fair distribution mechanism, and create an optimized development environment.  

During the deepening period of reform and opening up, Ningbo promotes the all-round development of people by promoting the balance of education for all, establishing and improving the public health system and public cultural service system, and promoting the construction of public security systems. Ningbo adheres to the harmonious coexistence between man and nature, promote the simultaneous planning and simultaneous advancement of economic construction and environmental protection, strive to promote green development and ecological development, and continuously improve the sustainability of development.

The Future of Ningbo: build a “Famous City” with strong international competitiveness

In the first stage, from 2020 to 2035, on the basis of building a well-off society at a high level, we will fight for fifteen years and complete the goal of basically achieving socialist modernization at a high level, and become a famous city with a high international reputation. ";

In the second stage, from 2035 to the middle of this century, on the basis of accomplishing the goal of basically achieving socialist modernization at a high level, we will fight for another fifteen years and build a “famous city” with strong international competitiveness.

(Photo from the Municipal Statistics Bureau)

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