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Ningbo’s Service Industry: Prosperity Awaits
2018-12-03Text Size: A A A

On November 21st, Kuangshi Port Company, the oldest company in Zhoushan Port of Ningbo, registered an annual throughput of 100 million tons.

(Photo by Chen Liqi, Yu Yongjun)


Cross-border parcels in Ningbo International Parcel Exchanging Bureau

Two major events will fall on Ningbo in this December. One is 2018 Amazon Global Selling Summit, which will make its debut in Ningbo while the previous three were held in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Xiamen. At the summit, Amazon will invite over 400 Chinese manufacturing companies, and the number of participants is expected to surpass 10,000. The other is the 2nd China (Ningbo) International Shipping and Logistics Fair, the participants of which is going to hovel at 10,000 too.

Since the beginning of 2018, Ningbo’s service industry has obtained great achievements in winning projects and cooperation, covering medical care, fiance, logistics, and house estates. According to Ningbo Statistics Department, the added value of service industry has reached a year-on-year increase of 7.8%, and led the GDP growth by 0.7 percentage, of which service industry for profits account for 18.9% of that increase.

Service industry becomes the major engine for Ningbo’s development

To many people, Ningbo’s service industry is not very competent in that it is a city famous for manufacturing. 

“Actually, such an impression does not cover the whole picture. In recent years, Ningbo’s service industry is developing steadily, and manages to keep the annual growth rate of its added value over 8%. Service industry has become a major driving force for the city’s economy.” said the director of the Service Development Division of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission. In the recent decade, he has been taking charge of the development work for Ningbo’s service industry, and has done long-term follow-up research on service industry development.

Statistics have shown that the added value of Ningbo’s service industry has reached 442.73 billion yuan, which is 10 times higher than 2000, two times higher than 2010. That value ranks second in Zhejiang province, and 14th in the list of 35 big and middle cities. In particular, during the 12th Five-Year Plan, Ningbo’s service industry has witnessed its prosperity, which contributes to gross municipal product from 2010’s 40.63% to 2015’s 45.24%. 

A deep look to the service industry shows that transportation, retailing, financing, and housing, which altogether occupy 60% of the industry, predominate in Ningbo’s service industry. Considering the strong driving force provided by the service industry to municipal economy, these four key industries can be counted as the locomotive of the engine.

Backed by the world's largest cargo handling port and a three-dimensional transportation network extending in all directions, the transportation industry is growing strongly. Up to now, Ningbo has nearly 9,000 logistics corporations, and many globally famous logistics companies also come to the city. Over the past three quarters, Ningbo Zhoushan Port has registered a throughput of 82.8334 tons, a year-on-year rise of 7.5%; the city's freight volume and cargo turnover have increased by 15.9% and 32.8% respectively.

The retailing industry serves as another important contributor to Ningbo’s economy. Over the past two years, Ningbo has launched Restructuring and Upgrading Plan for Commercial Entities and the Restructuring and Upgrading Plan for Retailing Industry, which together bolster the liquidity in business trade. The first three quarters have seen gross municipal commodity trade volume reach 1.89428 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 16.4%, in which wholesale business and retailing account for 17.5% and 11.3% respectively.

From the financial perspective, recent years have witnessed many Ningbo demonstration projects coming into being as a result of Ningbo’s innovative measures in insurance and banking. In June 2016, China’s first National Comprehensive Insurance Experimental Area took its root in Ningbo and has issued nearly a hundred innovative insurance products over the past two years. By the end of September 2018, the balance of domestic and foreign currency deposits of financial institutions in the city is 1,877.71 billion yuan, an increase of 3.8% over the beginning of the year; the loan balance is 1,945.41 billion yuan, an increase of 10.8% over the beginning of the year.

New industries bring new development.

Since 2013, Ningbo’s service industry has entered another stage as its annual growth rate has slowed down from two-digit percentage to one-digit, but is still above 8%.

To fully liberate the driving force of service industry to economy, since the beginning of the 13th Five-Year Plan, Ningbo has been foucusing on the medium and long-term development of the service industry, and has launched “One Plus X” policy, that is, to extend to other industries and areas such as modern logistics, information economy, scientific service industry, open economy, tourism, finance, human resources, and sports education, with attention mainly paid to the service industry.

Ningbo’s e-commerce is a nationally leading industry. On the Double Eleven of 2018 (i.e. November 11th), Ningbo Customs has received 7.73 million cross-border orders, whose value surpassed 1.4 billion yuan and reached 1.448 billion, ranking first nationally. By November 11th, Ningbo has reached 76.07 million cross-border e-commerce orders, with its import volume totaling 13 billion yuan, which is twice higher that last year. Now, Ningbo enterprises have registered 250,000 accounts on the International Cross-Border E-Commerce Platform, and have opened over 150,000 stores.

Inside the Middle and Eastern European Hall, which resides in Ningbo Imported Commodity Center, lie all kinds of products coming from 16 European countries. Up to now, Ningbo Imported Commodity Center and Ningbo Free Trade Zone have together formed the “Store-Warehouse” scope. According to Ningbo Customs, from January to October, Ningbo’s import and export value has achieved 20.1 billion yuan, a year-on-year rise of 24%, and it includes 17.23 billion in export, and 2.87 billion in import, with a year-on-year increase of 21.4% and 42.2% respectively.

The Maritime Silk Road Trade Index (STI) of Ningbo Shipping Exchange has been included as one of the achievements in Belt and Road Forum. Ningbo Export Container Freight Index (NCFI) successfully landed on the Baltic Exchange, becoming China’s most authoritative big data center in shipping filed. In 2018, Ningbo Port Index developed by Ningbo Port Shipping Management Bureau and Ningbo Shipping Exchange made its debut and has been put into use.

In Poland. Middle Europe Train’s first station in EU, a number of railway shipments from our country will pass or arrive in Warsaw, Rhodes and Marashevich.

The rising of new industries and new platforms has witnessed the development and upgrading of Ningbo’s service industry under new circumstances.

At the same timw, high-tech service industries centering on R&D, and testing institutions are congregating gradually.

Achieve integration of manufacturing and service industries by improving port service, supportive industries, city functions and living standards

Ningbo’s service industry has gained considerable progresses in the past years, but there is still a long way to go in scale and function, compared with leading cities in China. The added value of the third industry takes up about 45% of the total GDP of Ningbo, lower than national and provincial average.

“Ningbo’s service industry does not match with its key role as the centre of southern Yangtze Delta and a modern coastal city. To some extent, it has even hindered the quality development of economy and the improvement of living standards,” says an expert from the municipal development panning institute. Ningbo lags behind such developed cities as Hangzhou in emerging service industries, especially information economy.

The expert adds that the existence of a gap usually indicates opportunities. Ningbo’s emerging service industries have gained strong momentum in recent years, accounting for 9% of the GDP. The growth of commercial leasing has been doubled every year, ,making it possible for us to catch up with other cities.

Quality development is one of the goals of the transformation of service industry. Ningbo has launched reforms in the management of service industry, according to which, a comprehensive assessment system will be established by the year of 2020. 

Reducing the cost of logistics is a key method of promoting productive service industry. The annual report on the development of logistics of Ningbo shows that the total logistics fee in Ningbo increases by 15.84%, taking up 17.9% of GDP, which is 3.3 percent higher than national average. The part and shipping logistic companies are mainly small and medium sized and the high logistic cost has obscured  the quality development of the ports. The report proposes that an online platformed integrating shippers, vehicles and talents should be developed and the companies should cooperate with each other to improve the competence of the industry. 

“In the near future, Ningbo is to boost service industry in four aspects, which are port service, supportive industries, city functions and living standards in line with relative laws and regulations, forming synergy between manufacturing and service industries”. Vice director of Ningbo Development and Reform Commission says he believes the four aspects are the key to accelerating the development of modern service industry.

Improve port service. Ningbo is to further strengthen port and shipping industries including logistic service, ship service, shipping service and port management and build a high standard international logistic service centre, aimed to boost industrial and city development through the improvement of port service.

Improve supportive industries. The city will accelerate the integration of manufacturing and service industries by promoting financial service, smart project service, R&D and other productive service industries. Meanwhile, Ningbo will also strengthen the support of information technologies and cultivate new business modes, business types and industries, aimed to enhance the networking, intelligence synergy and service-orientedness of manufacturing industries.

Improve city functions. Centred on the needs for service industry in building a economic centre, technology centre, culture centre, trade centre and  transportation hub, Ningbo is to promote its comprehensive service functions and to enlarging its influence on neighbouring cities by enhancing technological development, cultural innovation and international trade

Improve living standards. Aimed to meet residents’ growing demand for happiness, Ningbo will increase the standards of service industry in an all-round way by promoting the upgrading of tourism, healthcare, commercial service and other daily service industries.

As China’s economy has entered a new phase driven by consumption, the central government issues advice on upgrading consumption mechanism and stimulating consumption, which provides an opportunity for Ningbo to boost its service industry.


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