Pivotal role for port

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 12:00am


One of the first five special economic zones, Xiamen is showing steady growth, according to figures.

The city opened for foreign investment in the early 1980s and is also a major trading port, now accounting for more than half of foreign trade in Fujian.

Last year, Xiamen's economy grew 15.1 per cent to 253.7 billion yuan (HK$312.7 billion). Per-capita GDP was up 15.3 per cent to

71,808 yuan, surpassing the US$10,000 mark for the first time, according to media reports.

Xiamen has benefited from investments from Taiwan, due to its strong economic and social ties with the island.

The city is only 25km from Taiwan's Jinmen (or Kinmen) island. Many Taiwanese people originated from Fujian, and the Taiwanese dialect also originated from southern Fujian.

With this background, Xiamen also plays an important role in the central government's policies to promote closer economic and social ties with Taiwan.

It has been approved by the State Council as a pilot area for reforms to 'deepen the exchanges and co-operation across the Taiwan Strait'.

Trade between Xiamen and Taiwan last year totalled US$7.24 billion, up 13.4 per cent, of which exports were up 38.9 per cent to US$1.46 billion, while imports were up 8.6 per cent to US$5.77 billion. The growth was attributed to the signing of the Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement between China and Taiwan in mid-2010. This preferential trade agreement aims to reduce tariffs and commercial barriers.

The city government plans to develop the Haichang area into an international shipping hub by relocating the logistics industries to the area, and to develop tertiary industries.

The city also fosters the growth of small- to medium-sized enterprises, such as lowering charges and offering financial subsidies.

Fast facts

City Xiamen (formerly Amoy)

Area 1,573 sq km

Population 3.53 million

GDP 253.6 billion yuan (2011)

Per-capita GDP 71,808 yuan (2011)

Total retail sales 81.069 billion yuan (2011)

Disposable income of urban residents 33,565 yuan (2011))

Total industrial value: 446.483 billion yuan

Foreign trade: US$69.8 billion (2010)

Fixed asset investment 112.628 billion yuan (2011)

Foreign direct investment US$1.7 billion (2010)