This article provides an overview of Shandong for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Land area: 157,900 sq km
- Population: 99,470,000
- Provincial capital: Jinan
- Gross Regional Product (GRP): RMB 6,802.449 billion
- GRP per capita: RMB 68,733
- Major cities: Jinan, Qingdao, Weifang, Weihai, Yantai, Zibo
Shandong province is located on the eastern coast of China. It borders Tianjin and Hebei to the north, Henan to the west, and Anhui and Shandong to the south. The province has a well-developed rail network system comprising the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, Beijing-Kowloon Railway and many other high-speed railway lines. It also has eight civil airports and seven sea ports, including Qingdao Port.
In 2016, Shandong’s economy was the third largest in China, after Guangdong and Jiangsu.
Data Source: CEIC
Heavy industry accounts for 68 percent of Shandong’s gross industrial output. The five main industry sectors in Shandong (by share of a value-added industrial output in percentage terms) are raw materials and chemical products (10.2 percent), food processing (7.8 percent), machinery manufacturing (6.4 percent), non-metallic mineral product manufacturing (5.9 percent) and textiles (5.7 percent). The province also produces one-third of China’s total crude oil output and has 50,000 sq km of coalfields. Agricultural production includes apples, peanuts and vegetables.
Jinan, Qingdao, Weifang, Weihai, Yantai and Zibo are some of the major cities in Shandong province.
Jinan is the capital city of Shandong province. In 2016, its population was 7.23 million. Its GDP was estimated at RMB 720.2 billion in 2017. It is also known as the City of Springs due to the presence of over 700 natural springs around the city. Jinan is one of China’s first three software cities, the other two being Chengdu and Nanjing. Its economic focus is on logistics, water management, ICT, healthcare and machinery equipment.
Qingdao is Shandong’s economic centre. In 2016, it had an estimated population of 9.2 million. Its GDP in 2017 was estimated at RMB 1,103.73 billion. It was also the fifth largest container port in China in terms of throughput and home to well-known Chinese brands such as Tsingtao Beer and Haier. Many foreign companies operate there, including HSBC, Jusco, OCBC, Wal-Mart and Yamaguchi Bank Ltd, to name a few. Its main industries include logistics, shipbuilding and marine technology, ICT, water management, healthcare, wealth management, tourism, and fishery.
Weifang is located in central Shandong. In 2016, it had an estimate population of 9.36 million while its GDP was estimated at RMB 585.86 billion in 2017. Some of the city’s main industry sectors include agriculture, food and beverage processing, machinery equipment, textiles and chemicals. Shouguang, a prefectural city of Weifang, hosts the annual China International Vegetable SciTech Fair. The city is regard as China’s vegetable capital while Qingzhou, another prefectural city of Weifang, is famous for its horticulture.
With an estimated GDP of RMB 733.9 billion in 2017 and a population of 7.06 million in 2016, Yantai is Shandong’s largest industrial city. It is known as “Fairyland on Earth” and “City of Wine” and an export base for agricultural products such as apples, peanuts and vegetables. It is home to a large number of auto parts manufacturers, as well as companies specialising in logistics, shipbuilding and marine technology, chemical, electronics and IT, and agro-food.
Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment
Shandong’s major exports comprise machinery, electronics, textiles, garments, vehicles and related parts, plastics and related products, and base metals and related products. Major export markets include the United States, Japan and South Korea. Its major imports include minerals, machinery and electrical equipment, seeds and fruits, and plastics and related products. Around 64.6 percent of foreign investments in Shandong are centred mainly on the manufacturing sector. Singapore is one of the major investors in Shandong.
In 2016, Shandong was the second largest consumer market (in terms of retail sales after Guangdong. Retail sales of consumer goods reached RMB 3,064.6 billion, accounting for 9.2 percent of China’s total. Annual per capita disposal income of urban households was RMB 34,012 in 2016.
Shandong is a popular tourist destination. In 2016, a total of 3.2882 million tourists visited the province, of which 2.3766 million were foreigners. Tourism receipts from foreign tourists was US$ 3.06342 billion while receipts from domestic tourists totalled RMB 740 billion. Shandong was the birthplace of influential cultural and historical figures such as Confucius and Mo Zi, and is also home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites: Mount Tai, Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu, the Grand Canal and the Great Wall of Qi, which forms part of the Great Wall of China.
Singapore and Shandong
The Singapore-Shandong Business Council (SSBC) was the first council to be established between Singapore and Shandong. It was the result of a mutual desire to strengthen economic and trade cooperation by both Singapore and Shandong. Singapore-Shandong bilateral economic and trade relations has grown steadily over the years. Total trade between Singapore and Shandong amounted to RMB 17.93 billion (S$3.74 billion) in 2017, with actual investment worth a total of RMB 7.49 billion.
SSBC has identified healthcare and logistics, including smart technologies, as key sectors that offer emerging opportunities for Singaporean companies in the province. Some Singaporean companies that have signed agreements with their Shandong counterparts include Global Logistics Properties, YCH Group and The Farrer Park Company. In addition, Singapore’s Mapletree Investments and the authorities in the city of Yantai signed a contract to build a S$52 million logistics warehouse in the city’s Fushan district. The company also has two other logistics parks in Shandong, namely in Jinan and Qingdao.