Industrial area wins investor praise for professionalism
As head of industrial services in North China for Colliers International, Wu Tao spends much of her career looking for the region's best industrial parks and recommending those parks to potential investors around the world.
One of the places that gets her top recommendation is the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone.
Wu says she is especially impressed by the professionalism, efficiency and active attitude in seeking business cooperation opportunities on the part of the high-tech zone's government officials.
"Companies consider many factors when looking for long-term development opportunities such as infrastructure and supportive policies of an industrial park. However, the more important factor is the business environment and the park or even a city's long-term development plan," said Wu, who has visited many cities and regions in the world during her career.
Colliers isn't the only property company impressed by the high-tech zone. The region has also become attractive to investors from five sectors — advanced manufacturing equipment, new materials, healthcare, information, modern service sectors — in recent years. A total of 40 projects from the five sectors, involving 6.79 billion yuan ($995 million) in investment, are expected to settle in the zone, according to the local government.
The zone's government has long been committed to building a premium environment to support business growth.
Shengrui Transmission Corporation, which won the first prize at the National Science and Technology Progress Awards for developing the first 8-gear automatic transmission in China in 2016, had to postpone its plan to build an industrial place to increase its production and development because it could not complete its relocation.
Learning at the problem, the local administration took only half a month to complete all relocation work to support Shengrui's expansion plan.
"I believe the zone is the only place in China that can develop front-wheel drive 8-gear automatic transmission, or 8AT, successfully because it is a place which can cultivate entrepreneurs, innovative enterprises and strengthen businesses' core competitiveness," said Liu Xiangwu, board chairman of the Shengrui, who was impressed by the government's rapid response.
Besides the commitment, local authorities are also striving to expand the area's talent pool, creating more conditions for future growth.
In April, the zone unveiled two recruitment initiatives aimed at bringing in fresh blood. The two policies include providing enhanced benefits for urgently needed talent, as well as greater government support for university graduates seeking to start a new business there.
"We are promoting the idea that people who can provide better services for talent are heroes," said Wu Hailiang, an official at the zone's organization department. He added that those who failed to support professionals starting businesses there were falling short of their duties.
In recent years, the zone has made huge investments in upgrading its business ecosystem and promoted the integration of urban and industrial development.
In the first half of 2018, talks between the zone management committee and businesses were conducted on 242 projects. Of that total, 89 projects were agreed upon and moved into the zone.
Wang Lian contributed to this story.