Blue economy to sustain growth momentum
Shanghai shifts focus to ocean related resources as city taps new seams to maintain high-quality edge in region
The blue economy has become a major growth driver of Shanghai's economy, by accounting for 28.1 percent of the city's GDP last year, and is fast approaching the trillion yuan level with strong growth momentum, according to the local Oceanic Bureau.
The blue economy comprises economic activities that create sustainable wealth from the world's oceans and coasts. In the past five years, the marine economy of Shanghai increased from 621.7 billion yuan ($87.6 billion) in 2014 to 918.3 billion yuan in 2018, accounting for 11 percent of the nation's total, said Yu Weidong, a deputy director from the Shanghai Oceanic Bureau.
After years of stoppages in construction, the first pile for the Peljesac Bridge in Croatia was laid earlier this year by Chinese company Shanghai Shocktorm Ocean Engineering Co Ltd. The bridge connects Komarna on the Croatian mainland and the peninsula of Peljesac, said Zhang Tie, president and general manager of Shanghai Shocktorm Ocean Engineering.
With the completion of the bridge, the current three-hour route would be shortened to three minutes on foot.
Shocktorm is a company focusing on marine engineering equipment research and development, and its various services like ocean piling, and marine and maintenance operations have created dozens of projects like cross-ocean bridges, offshore wind power and offshore oilfield installations.
"The technology expertise has guaranteed our strength, which allows us to carry out projects at home and abroad," said Zhang.
According to him, the company spends about 5 percent of its revenue on research and development.
While maintaining its leading technology position in piling, Shocktorm is looking to further strengthen its competitiveness in operation and maintenance by launching a vessel for operation and maintenance of offshore windmills in November.
Zhang said with the expansion of offshore windmills, the demand for operation and maintenance services will increase.
The total capacity of Chinese installed offshore windmills soared from 450,000 kilowatts in 2013 to 4.04 million kWh as of 2018, among which 1.25 million kWh were newly installed last year, a great leap from 60,000 in 2013, according to a research report by Shenzhen-based Qianzhan Industry Research Institute.
As the construction of offshore windmills enters a rapid growth period, it is projected that the market size of Chinese offshore windmill operation and maintenance will reach 490 million yuan this year, and snowball to about 3.7 billion yuan by 2024 with a compound annual growth rate of 50 percent, the report said.
Shocktorm is one of the more than 100 enterprises in the 140,000 square meters of gross floor area in Lingang Oceanic High-Tech Industrial Park. The companies engaged in deep sea exploration, ocean engineering equipment, marine resources development and marine medicine created a combined revenue of 3.5 billion yuan last year, up 21.6 percent year-on-year, according to Jin Miaoyu, divisional manager for the ocean industry at Shanghai Lingang Oceanic High-tech Industrial development Co Ltd.
"Many of the companies are small and micro enterprises hiring dozens of people, and it is really rewarding to see them expand and grow," said Jin.
"Rainbow Fish is one of the examples. In the past few years, we have seen it grow from merely a concept into an enterprise ready to get listed on the Nasdaq-like STAR Market, or science and technology innovation board," she added.
Rainbow Fish Ocean Technology Co is an enterprise created in 2014, capable of building manned deep sea submersibles that could dive to depths of 10,000 meters and beyond.