On June 10, 2018, President Xi Jinping announced at the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that “the Chinese government supports building a demonstration area in Qingdao for local economic and trade cooperation between China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).”
The State Council, in its reply to the General Plan for the Construction of the China-SCO Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Area (SCODA), pointed out that the SCODA should build a new platform for “Belt and Road” international cooperation in accordance with the decisions and arrangements made by the State Council. With the platform, China can expand cooperation in international logistics, modern trade, two-way investment, and business, travel, and cultural exchanges; allow Qingdao to effectively play its role in the construction of the “Belt and Road” New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor and maritime cooperation; strengthen the interconnection between China and other SCO states, and shape a new phase of all-around two-way opening up with links running eastward and westward over land and sea.
With a total area of 108 km2, the SCODA is situated on the north coast of Jiaozhou Bay in Qingdao, an open coastal city. Facing Japan, South Korea and the Asian Pacific Region in the east, connected to SCO countries in the west, ASEAN in the south, Mongolia and Russia in the North, the area enjoys an excellent location.
According to the General Plan, the SCODA is constructed within the Jiaozhou Economic and Technological Development Zone. It is located within the 15-minute economic circle of Qingdao’s “sea, land, air, and railway” transportation hub. This superior geographic location is anchored upon the center of an integrated transportation network of sea, land, air, and railway. The SCODA empowers Qingdao to play its role in the construction of the “Belt and Road” New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor and maritime cooperation. It is 10 km from Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport, 15 km from Qingdao Qianwan Port (a seaport), and 15 km from the SCO Multimodal Transport Center (a railway port). It is only half an hour’s drive to the downtown area of Qingdao. Such a central location ensures efficient intermodal transport connections by land, sea, air, and railway.
Qingdao is a city in eastern Shandong Province on the east coast of China. It is a city specifically designated in the state plan, a megacity, a sub-provincial city, the economic center of Shandong Province, a coastal important central city of China, a coastal city for resort and tourism, an international port city, an important pilot zone for development of modern marine industry of China, an international shipping hub of Northeast Asia, a marine sports base, a main hub in the economic corridor of New Eurasian Land Bridge of “the Belt and Road” and a pivot of marine cooperation strategy.
Qingdao is located on the southeast coast of Shandong Peninsula, in the frontal zone of China-Japan-South Korea free trade area. It has a total area of 11,282 km2, administering 7 districts and managing 3 county-level cities. In 2018, its total number of permanent residents was 92 040 000 and its total regional GDP was RMB 1,20000,000,000 Yuan.
Qingdao is the host city of sailing races of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and of the 13th Paralympic Games, known as the Sailing City of China, the Best Sailing City of Asia, the World Beer City, the "City of Film" designated by the United Nations, and one of the first coastal open-up cities of China.
Qingdao is an international marine scientific research and education center where reside 26 universities such as Shandong University (Qingdao Campus), Ocean University of China, China University of Petroleum. Another 29 universities such as Tsinghua University and Peking University have been introduced into Qingdao. There are diversified exotic-style architectures in Qingdao, so it is called “the Universal Exposition of Architectures”. The architectural complex in Eight Great Passes was awarded the title of “the Most Beautiful Urban Area of China”.
The SCODA is built to leverage its superior geographic location in the center of Qingdao’s integrated transportation network of sea, land, air, and railway, and coordinate the intermodal transportation of seaport, land port, airport, and railway. It empowers Qingdao to play its role in the construction of the “Belt and Road” New Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor and maritime cooperation. It operates in a “green” way that focuses on logistics pilot, trade expansion, production capacity cooperation, cross-border development, and two-park interaction.
Efforts are made to build the SCODA into a pilot area for innovation of two-way investment and trade systems among the relevant localities across the SCO states, an agglomeration area for business entrepreneurship and development, and a pioneering area for local economic and trade cooperation along the “Belt and Road,” so as to build a new high ground for opening-up in the new era.