This article provides an overview of Tianjin 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: 11,917sq km
- Population: 15,469,500
- Gross domestic product (GDP) (2015): 1,653.8 billion RMB
- GDP per capita (2015): 107,960 RMB
Tianjin is a metropolis in the northeastern coast of mainland China. It is one of the four autonomous municipalities in the country, along with Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, that are under the direct administration of the central government. It is northern China’s most important manufacturing centre and leading port.
Tianjin reached its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–15) goals, with an overall GDP of RMB 1.65 trillion. Its GDP increased 12.4 percent annually during this period by supporting scientific innovation and improving the competitiveness of its industries. It also achieved growth by transforming its economic structure and developing its service industry to account for 52 percent of its economy, overtaking manufacturing. The private sector in Tianjin accounted for 46.7 percent of Tianjin’s GDP, as it opened up more to the outside world, attracting 1.55 billion RMB in domestic investment and US$85 trillion in foreign investment. In 2015, there were 162 of the Global Top 500 companies and 216 of China’s Top 500 investing there.⁴
Binhai New Area
Datasource: Hong Kong Trade Development Council, 2016
With the aim of strengthening Tianjin’s position as the economic centre of the Bohai Bay region, priority has been given to the development of the Binhai New Area. Preferential policies have been enacted by the State Council to support the development of Binhai. In 2015, GDP of the Binhai New Area grew by 12.8 percent to reach RMB 927 billion.⁵ Binhai occupies a core position in the Bohai Economic Rim, facing Japan and the Korean Peninsula across the sea.⁶
Binhai has abundant natural resources. It boasts 1,200 sq km of saline and alkaline wasteland that is expansive enough for eco-improvement and construction, and has 100 sq km of usable water surface and wetland. Binhai is also rich in petroleum and natural gas. It has more than 10 billion tonnes of verified oil resources, 193.7 billion cu m of natural gas deposits, and an annual output of 2.4 million tonnes of crude salt.⁷
Described as the “cradle of China’s modern mechanic industry and textile industry”, Tianjin is an important industrial centre. Its industrial development owes much to the rapid growth of high- and new-tech industries such as electronics and information technology. In 2015, the added value of high-tech industry accounted for about 13.8 percent of Tianjin’s total added value of industrial output, up by 1.5 percent. Foreign-invested enterprises have contributed greatly to Tianjin’s industrial growth, particularly in high- and new-tech industries.⁸ Tianjin is also a major industrial base for manufacturing, car-making and petrochemicals. As a high-tech centre, Tianjin has a ready supply of hundreds of thousands of graduates available from the city’s numerous universities.⁹
Foreign trade & foreign investment
Tianjin’s major exports include mechanical and electronic products. In 2015, high- and new-tech products accounted for 38.5 percent of the city’s total exports. The major export markets were the United States, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Exports to Hong Kong amounted to US$2,880 million, or 5.6 percent, of Tianjin’s total exports. Major imports were machinery and transport equipment, and non-edible raw materials. In 2015, 52.1 percent of the utilised foreign direct investment went to the manufacturing sector. Hong Kong is the leading investor in Tianjin. In 2015 alone, utilised investment from Hong Kong stood at US$9.35 billion. Other major sources of foreign investment included Japan, Korea, the United States and Singapore.¹⁰
In 2015, Tianjin’s annual per capita disposal income of urban households reached RMB 34,101.
Some international supermarket companies have established chain stores in Tianjin, including Metro, Walmart and Carrefour. Domestic trade enterprises such as Shanghai’s Lianhua, Jiangsu’s Suning and Beijing’s Gome have also set up supermarkets there.¹¹
The municipality’s colonial history left behind thousands of villas that lend an exotic flavour to the metropolis. Attractions include the Gu Wenhua Jie, Dagu Emplacement, Huangyaguan Great Wall, Dule Temple, Haihe River, Water Park, Panshan Mountain, Hotel Street and Food Street, Tianjin TV and Radio Tower and Zhonghuan Cailian.¹²
Singapore & Tianjin
The Singapore-Tianjin Economic and Trade Council (STETC) was established on 25 January 2007 with the objective of promoting broader exchanges and cooperation between the business communities of Tianjin and Singapore. Since the STETC’s inception, economic ties between the two sides have continued to strengthen. In 2014, bilateral trade between Singapore and Tianjin grew 16 percent to reach US$3.47 billion.
Both regions have also joined hands for other large-scale collaborations in recent years, most notably the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City.¹³ Its vision is to be “a thriving city which is socially harmonious, environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient – a model for sustainable development.”¹⁴ The eco-city will will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2018 and among its accomplishments include the opening of a water reclamation centre to treat 100,000 cubic metres of wastewater and produce 21,000 cubic metres of recycled daily attracting 4,500 registered companies with over RMB 200 billion in registered capital; and the opening of 14 schools for over 7,000 students.¹⁵