Xiamen is a prefecture-level city in Fujian province, located on the Taiwan Strait along the southeast coast of China. It has an area of 656.14 square miles and a population of approximately 3.73 million. The city’s urban area covers six constituent districts – Huli, Siming, Jimei, Tong’an, Haicang and Xiang’an – with a total urban population of 1.86 million people. Bordering the major cities of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou, it is one of China’s major Hokkien-speaking regions and home to large communities of overseas Chinese.
Xiamen is part of the Fujian Free Trade Zone (FTZ) that was founded in the Mawei District of Fuzhou on April 21, 2015. Xiamen was chosen as one of four original special economic zones (SEZs) established when the country initiated economic reforms in the early 1980s. The city was ranked as the seventh best-performing city in China by the Milken Institute in September 2015, taking into account jobs and income growth, gross regional product (GRP), foreign direct investment (FDI), and the strength of its high value-added industries. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences ranked Xiamen as the 17th most competitive Chinese city in 2014.
Since 1997, Xiamen has hosted the annual China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) – China’s only international bilateral investment promotion event. The city is well-connected by an efficient transportation network of trains and highways. The Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport offers daily flights to more than 40 domestic and international cities, and the Xiamen Port provides sea routes to Hong Kong and the Taiwanese island of Jinmen.
GDP for Xiamen in 2014 amounted to US $50.12 billion (RMB 327.36 billion), showing a per capita income of US $13,296 (RMB 86,832). Imports accounted for US $4.64 billion (RMB 30,328 million) and exports US $8.13 billion (RMB 53,161 million). In 2014, Xiamen ranked fifth in the list of the Top 100 International Trade Cities as ranked by the General Administration of Customs.
Services dominate Xiamen’s economic output. Industry and manufacturing accounted for 44.6 percent of Xiamen’s GDP in 2014, while services contributed 54.7 percent. Pillar industries in the city include electronics, machinery and equipment manufacturing, chemical materials, petrochemicals, ship and yacht building and maintenance, food processing, textiles, and tanning.
The huge services sector illustrates Xiamen’s importance as a commercial and distribution hub in Fujian. Tourism is another key service industry, with Xiamen’s tourism earnings ranking 24th in China in 2014. Major tourist attractions in the area include Gulangyu Island, Wanshi Botanical Garden, Nanputuo Temple, and Hulishan Fortress.
Electronic, Mechanical and Automobile Components
Since July 2014, China’s Ministry of Commerce has removed 81 kinds of electronics, mechanics and automobile goods from the Automatic Import Licensing Catalogue. This has benefited importing enterprises in Xiamen, as they do not have to seek customs clearance. Each of these segments figure in the U.S.’s top four exports.
Xiamen also has well-established machinery and equipment manufacturing industries, and sales of its mechanical loaders have ranked first in the country in recent years. Exporters of electronic and machine components will find a strong market in the region, as will traders in the automobile industry. While Xiamen is a key distribution center in Fujian, the bordering city of Quanzhou is the biggest automotive market in Fujian with the highest rate of private automobile ownership.
The Xiamen government is currently developing its marine industry chain and coastal industrial zone, featuring sewage waste management, petrochemicals, yacht manufacturing and maintenance businesses, which will be of interest to American manufacturers and suppliers of machinery, components and services.
Meat and Meat Products
Lamb and mutton have consistently featured in Xiamen’s top imports. International trading partners are in regular demand to keep up with lamb and mutton’s popularity in the city, especially during the winter months.
Meat is an important export category for U.S. agribusiness, but declined by 52.1 percent in 2014. Regional markets in China therefore provide ample scope for U.S. meat producers looking to enhance trade opportunities.
Xiamen is a major market for imported wines in Fujian province. Xiamen Customs reported that between January to February 2015 the total volume of wine imports in Fujian province reached 6.23 million liters, a 73.5 percent year on year increase,among which Xiamen’s imported wine reached 4.65 million liters, an 89.4 percent year on year increase. Xiamen’s wine imports accounted for more than 74.6 percent of the entire volume imported by Fujian.
Peak seasons are the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival. The city’s flourishing tourism industry also feeds into the burgeoning market for wines.
Free Trade and Development Zones
Xiamen Haicang Taiwanese Investment Zone
This 38.61 square mile-zone is the largest national Taiwanese investment zone authorized by the China State Council, and is situated close to Xiamen Port. Xiamen Haicang targets several specific industries, namely fine chemicals, electronics, electrical appliances and port logistics. Major investors are Black & Decker, Kodak, Spang, Hella, Magnetics, Jianying Technology, and Lianda Computer.
Xiamen Jimei (Xinglin) Taiwanese Investment Zone
Xiamen Jimei specializes in chemicals, machinery, textiles and electronics. Key investors include TDK Electronics, Linde Gas, Laiming Glass, Luda Industrial Group, and Zhengxin Rubber.
Xiamen Torch High-tech Industrial Development Zone
Situated close to the Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, this zone targets industries such as IT, optical-mechanical-electronic integration, biology, and medicine. Important investors include ABB, DELL, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu, and Areva.
Xiamen Xiangyu Free Trade Zone
The Xiamen Xiangyu FTZ encourages industries such as electronics assembly and manufacturing, garment and textiles production, trading and distribution, R&D, shipping, warehouse and logistics. In 2008, there were 1100 enterprises operating in the zone.
Xiamen Export Processing Zone
Xiamen’s Export Processing Zone is located close to the Haicang Port Area, 6.2 miles from the Gaoqi International Airport and 1.9 miles from the Haicang railway station. Target industries include biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, chemicals production, heavy industry, instruments and industrial equipment production.
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