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Nation fetes 'Jinjiang Experience' for biz success

By ZHU WENQIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-02

City in Fujian aims for nonpublic sector output of 1 trln yuan by 2025

6-1.jpegA worker operates on a footwear production line of Chinese sportswear brand Anta in Jinjiang, Fujian province, in February 2021.  CHINA DAILY

Jinjiang, a county-level city in East China's Fujian province, has been the birthplace of several top-ranked Chinese sportswear brands such as Anta, Xtep and 361 Degrees, thanks to its booming private economy, and local private enterprises have increasingly formed new industrial growth points and competitiveness.

The total output value of the private economy in Jinjiang now exceeds 800 billion yuan ($111 billion), with more than 90,000 private enterprises and 51 listed private companies currently operating. By 2025, it aims to achieve an output value of 1 trillion yuan from its private economy, the local government said.

In the first three quarters of 2023, Jinjiang achieved a GDP of 236.38 billion yuan, up 6.2 percent year-on-year, with a growth rate higher than the province and the country's average.

"We have been focusing on developing the real economy, and encouraging and guiding private entrepreneurs to do small things well. These include manufacturing of a pair of shoes, a piece of clothing, a sheet of paper or a morsel of candy," said Zhang Wenxian, Party secretary of Jinjiang.

Back in 1978, the GDP of Jinjiang was 145 million yuan, and the per capita regional GDP was 154 yuan, lower than the national average, making it a typical impoverished county that heavily relied on agriculture, according to the local government.

With its spirit of daring and entrepreneurship, Jinjiang has transformed from a small county to a bright spot in China with a developed private economy, despite a large population and limited land resources, thus creating the "Jinjiang Experience".

The government said the "Jinjiang Experience" has been continuously improved and developed in practice and has played a vital role in developing China's private economy.

Over the years, under the guidance of the "Jinjiang Experience", it has grown its economy rapidly, mainly supported by the growth of the real economy.

The local government has helped with the integration of innovative resources in terms of branding and marketing advantages, attracted more talent and introduced a number of colleges and scientific institutions to conduct research in the city over the past few years.

"Jinjiang has undertaken 48 national-level pilot projects of reform, and built comprehensive industrial parks with space of more than 20 million square meters to support the development of private enterprises," Zhang said.

Nationwide, China will roll out more pragmatic measures to support the growth of the private economy, such as accelerating legislation facilitating the promotion of private economy.

The government will improve multilevel communications and exchanges, and listen to the real voices of private enterprises, officials said at a conference held in Jinjiang in January.

The private sector has formed a growing proportion of the nation's GDP, and now accounts for more than 60 percent of the total, said the National Bureau of Statistics.

Fujian, one of the earliest birthplaces of the private economy in China, saw the nonpublic sector generate about 70 percent of the province's tax revenue and GDP. More than 90 percent of enterprises in the province are private, and they have created over 80 percent of jobs for the urban labor force, said the local government.

In 2023, the total import and export value of private enterprises in Fujian exceeded 1 trillion yuan, and more private companies have seized business growth opportunities emerging from the Belt and Road Initiative, the local government said.

The spirit and culture of the "Jinjiang Experience" have been blended into the ethos of the people in Jinjiang and are deeply rooted in the DNA of local enterprises.

Jinjiang-based retail giant Anta Sports Products Ltd, whose sales revenue has ranked tops among Chinese sportswear product makers for 11 straight years, said it will continue to help drive high-quality development through technological innovation and promote the upgrading of the real economy.

6-2.jpegVisitors check out rainboots during a footwear expo in Jinjiang in April.  ZHANG BIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Anta has invested over 10 billion yuan to promote innovation in China's sports industry, achieving a comprehensive breakthrough in independent research and development. It provided uniforms and footwear for China's national teams for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and changed the situation where foreign sports brands dominated.

"Traditional industries are not low-end industries, and industrial upgrading should be achieved through technological innovation. Major enterprises in various industries should play a leading role and take the initiative in the new round of technological revolution," said Ding Shizhong, founder and chairman of the board of directors of Anta.

Anta has increasingly utilized new materials and technologies and developed more innovative products. It has built smart factories and lowered production costs with digitalized technologies.

Currently, Anta directly operates more than 10,000 stores globally, and overseas sales account for 35 percent of the total sales of the company, it said.

"Anta has been the firsthand practitioner of 'Jinjiang Experience'. We have been promoting the transformation and upgrading of the real economy and changing the dominant position of foreign brands in China," Ding said.

"China's large consumption market supported by a population of 1.4 billion remains its biggest advantage. We hope the government introduces more favorable policies to help stimulate consumption growth," he added.

Meanwhile, driven by the rapid growth of e-commerce in China and digital technologies, a number of private enterprises in Jinjiang, including Chinese menswear brand Septwolves, have continued to refine the spirit of Jinjiang and promote the company's transformation through digitalization.

Septwolves said it has actively built a digital platform, and integrated research and development, design, supply chain, retail, logistics and services alongside a cutting-edge management platform.

Fueled by the booming growth of e-commerce transactions in China, the production and processing of a variety of goods have further shifted to smaller urban centers.

"E-commerce platforms play a positive role in helping enhance the resource allocation capacity of industrial chains, driving product circulation and profit growth, and providing new impetus for consumption growth," said Luo Zhendong, a professor at Nanjing University.

"With the development of information networks, transaction costs have continued to decline, leading to the division of labor and cooperation among various links in industrial chains on a larger regional scale," Luo said.

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