Panoramic view of the waterfront in the eastern part of Qingdao, with its array of modern buildings. Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily
The East coast city of Qingdao, in Shandong province, has seen a period of "extraordinary growth" and "unprecedented challenges and opportunities" over the past five years, according to its mayor.
The city's GDP was more than 398.19 billion yuan in the first three quarters of this year, Mayor Xia Geng told China Daily. Per capita GDP is close to $ 10,000.
That was an increase of 13.3 percent over the same period of last year. And it is expected to exceed 500 billion yuan by year's end, or double the 2005 figure.
Revenues are expected to rise by an average annual growth of 20 percent, to 450 billion yuan, by the end of this year.
The city has ranked among China's top 10 most competitive, for the past two years, according to a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences report.
Great changes have taken place in the past five years in the urban profile, with more than 1 trillion yuan spent on fixed assets.
There are a number of far-reaching construction projects, such as the tunnel across Kiaochow Bay. And the high-tech industrial zone and near port areas have seen robust development.
"The local authorities are people-oriented and try solving problems that both the urbanites and rural people care most about. There are employment, social security, medical, education, and housing systems," Xia said.
In the past five years, the city has spent 37 billion yuan on welfare, he explained. That accounted for 60 percent of the local government budget. In 2010, it is expected to exceed 11 billion yuan, or 3.7 times the 2005 amount.
The "Civilized Qingdao" project has added some new landmarks, with the Qingdao Grand Theater, Qingdao Sports Center, and Olympic Sailing Museum.
The Beijing Olympics of 2008 held the sailing competition in Qingdao, and the city is now a stopover on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and Volvo Ocean Race, making it the sailing capital in China.