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People's Daily Online>>Special Coverage >> China Studies >> Cooperation >> Marine Economy

The Growing Significance of the Ocean for China's Opening up (2)

(People's Daily Online)

14:08, November 16, 2011

Map 1 China's special economic zones opened the country to external markets


Figure Source: World Bank World Development Report 2009, "Reshaping Economic Geography" Tsinghua University Press, 2009.

The highly concentrated economy in coastal areas
A significant result of China's opening up is the concentration of China's economic geography to coastal areas. In 1978, the GDP percentage of 10 provinces and cities in the eastern areas was 41.8%, which had risen to 55.2% in 2007. Currently, the three major coastal city groups have become the troika and growth poles of China's economic growth. With only 3.4% of the total areas of China, 38.6% of the total GDP, 70.3% of the goods exportation and 55.9% of the total FDI was created here. They are becoming world-class city groups. The east coast is the center of China's economic growth. With only 9.5% of the total areas, the GDP percentage has risen to 55.6%. In terms of Purchasing Power Parity, this is equivalent to 8.8% of the total world GDP. The east coast is a highly international and export-oriented economy, which is highly integrated into the global economy. These areas are active participants and beneficiaries of globalization. With dependency on exports as high as 50.6% and strong competitiveness in expanding global market, they are known as "the workshop of the world and one of the largest export bases; with dependency of imports as high as 44.6%, the areas show strong capacity in using and developing worldwide resources, so much so that they can be listed among the most open markets all over the world.

Foreign trade and energy security are highly dependent on the ocean
Opening up improves China's capacity of using international resources to develop the country, and many strategic resources are imported via the ocean. More than 80% of China's foreign trades are dependent on marine transportation. As to container transportation, China has become the world's largest container shipping country. In 2010, China occupied 6 seats in the top 10 container ports. Especially in the Pacific routes and Asia-Europe routes, China's share accounts for 50-60%. As to bulk transportation, China is also rising to a leading power. In the total volume of the bulk of three major maritime trades, China's shares are: iron ore accounted for more than 1/4; coal accounted for 1/5; food accounted for 1/10. As to oil transportation by sea, transport of oil by sea accounted for more than 90% of the total oil imports. As to the route structure, the Middle East accounted for about 50%; West Africa accounted for about 23%; Southeast Asia accounted for about 15%. Just the three routes accounted for 88% of China's total oil imports in 2010.
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