In June of 2016, Inter Media Japan was invited to be part of an exclusive media trip organized by newspaper publisher China Daily. During the trip, a team of media from around the world experienced first-hand the opportunities that Weifang City had to offer.
Located in the Shandong province, southeast of Beijing, resides the humble city of Weifang. A city of over 8 million people, historically known for its magnificent kites, has received little international attention for an urban area of its size and population. This will soon change as the city and its surrounding area becomes a center for cutting edge technology, culture, and industry in China. A forward-thinking city that is being built upon the foundation modernity; the city is expected to become a hub for domestic and international investment, and tourism. The city is made of four districts and includes multiple zones that focus on different areas of development, such as the High-tech industrial Development Zone, Binhai Economic and Technological Development Zone, Comprehensive Bonded Zone and three National Economic Zones. In addition, the city had a GDP of 517 Billion Yuan as of 2015, and the Chinese government views the city as a critical location for building trade and relations with neighboring Japan and South Korea, which combined, the two countries have 211 enterprises currently in operation in Weifang.
The High-Tech Industry Development Zone is the center for industrial pioneering in Weifang. Within the zone, many Chinese companies can be found innovating and pushing the boundaries of technology. One of the most important companies in this area is Weichai, an automobile and equipment manufacturing company founded in 1946. Weichai focuses on the construction of engines for a wide variety of vehicles ranging from construction vehicles to luxury yachts. The zone is also home to an advanced automotive factory for the Beijing headquartered Beiqi Foton Motor Co. LTD, also known as simply Foton. This company is one of the leading domestic automotive brands in China, and its domestic market share is growing annually against stiff competition from competing Japanese and South Korean brands. In the factory, half of all the production is done by advanced automated equipment or robots, and the rest is left young, dedicated employees who are around the average age of 28. Many of these young employees feel that their experiences at such an innovative, Chinese owned company will give them an advantage in pursuing future careers.
As an area of progress, the High-Tech Zone is home to many other forward-thinking business ventures outside of the automotive industry, such as the Sunshine Union Hospital and Tsurumi Hongqi Corporation. For China, the Sunshine Union Hospital is the first ever joint venture hospital in the nation. The hospital was established by a coordinated effort between the Chinese Government and the private insurance firm, Sunshine. Families or individuals that are insured by the Sunshine Insurance Group have access to immediate, high quality care at the facility. As for the Tsurumi Hongqi Corporation, it is a Japanese and Chinese co-owned company that focuses on high-end environmental protection equipment such as, fold spiral sludge dehydrators and submersible pumps. Tsurumi Honqi is a prime example of what Japanese and Chinese cooperation can accomplish.
In the Free Trade Zone, there exists the Weifang Imported Food Market. The Market is split into two buildings which contain various assortments of tax free imported goods. The North Building mostly contains South Korean products and the South Building contains products from other regions, mainly the US and Europe. The facility encourages trade and opens doors for more exchanging of goods between China and its neighbors.
The Weifang area is currently taking a progressive approach to agriculture that reflects the importance of technology and eco-consciousness taking precedence in China’s agro-future. Places of interest that reflect such food-based progressivism are the China International Vegetable Science and Technology Fair, the Shandong Shouguang Vegetable Industry Park and the High-Standard Vegetable Garden in Daotian Township. Since 2000, the Vegetable Fair has attracted 24 million guests from over 50 countries. The fair contains a wide array of exhibits that display the future of agriculture, focusing on various progressive technologies and farming strategies, such as plants being grown under red, blue and purple artificial lights, harvester robots, and advanced water piping systems. Additionally, the Vegetable Industry Park contains 239 greenhouses and can produce 4 million kilograms of vegetables annually. Lastly, the Daotian Township Vegetable Garden develops technological farming, contains 1,400 greenhouses and the village invested 30 million yuan to build 80 greenhouses in just 2015.Each greenhouse contains ventilators, water machines, and electrical transferring vehicles, allowing for reduction of labor costs and maximum production and profit.
Despite being a technological hub and center for progression, the Weifang area is absolutely radiating with history and culture. The area is host to the Yang Family Village, which was built 400 years ago. Since then, the village has been preserved by the Yang family and has been converted into a museum. It is a pristine example of what a family village environment was like and a piece of traditional Chinese history. Moreover, the ancient city of Qingzhou, which resides just west of Weifang city, has been around for 5,000 years and operated as the political, cultural, and economic center of Shandong province for more than 1,000 years. As such, the city has assortment of magnificent historical landmarks and traditional areas. The Qingzhou museum, founded in 1959, is an absolutely magnificent destination in that the museum houses more than 40,000 ancient relics and artifacts. The pieces range from timeless, crafted items such as pottery, dolls, and statues to historical photos and detailed recounts of important Chinese historical events. The collection of traditional, Chinese hanging art that can be found at the museum is truly something to behold.
As a whole. China is rapidly developing, but Weifang is one of nation’s pinnacle locations, as it encompasses everything that makes modern China the exciting place it is today. The Weifang area is not only a glimpse into the rich history and culture of China, but a look into China’s exciting, industrious future as well. Certainly, Weifang is bound to be beacon of innovation for years to come.