Official Reply of the State Council on Approving the Establishment of Sino-South Korea Industrial Parks (Guo Han [2017] No. 142) (Mainland China)

Joyce Wen

On December 11, 2017, the State Council issued the Official Reply on Approving the Establishment of Sino-South Korean Industrial Parks (the “Reply”) to approve the establishment of a Sino-South Korean (Yancheng) Industrial Park in Yancheng City of Jiangsu Province, a Sino-South Korean (Yantai) Industrial Park in Yantai City of Shandong Province, and a Sino-South Korean (Huizhou) Industrial Park in Huizhou City of Guangdong Province.  The above three industrial parks shall leverage the development of existing economic and technical development zones and the new high-tech development zones.  The specific implementation programs shall be formulated by local provincial people’s governments.

With respect to the Sino-South Korean (Yancheng) Industrial Park, it was announced at the meeting conducted by the standing committee of the municipal party committee on December 18, 2017 that the planning of the industrial park will set its role at a precise position in line with the state’s “One Belt One Road” strategy to accurately leverage its strategic importance.  The industrial park will be planned with a global vision, developed under a globalization philosophy, and managed according to international practices.  It was also pointed out during the meeting that the experiences with pilot reform projects, such as the pilot free trade zone in Shanghai, shall be actively replicated, and the cooperation model of the Sino-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park shall also be emulated to expedite the creation of a modern economic management and administrative regime and institution in line with international practices so as to fully utilize the “special” function and advantages of the industrial park.  For projects to be admitted into the industrial park, the industrial park seeks to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship, increased financial cooperation and target key industries such as new energy cars, smart network cars and next generation information technologies, artificial intelligence, 5G and big data to enhance the attractiveness to major special projects.  Currently, aggressive efforts are being made to improve the implementation program for the industrial park under a three-zone one park layout, with a city-industry integration core zone, the service industry zone and the harbor industry zone.  The core zone has accommodating functions with constantly improving public services.  Currently, 751 well-known Korean enterprises such as Hyundai, KIA and Mobis have settled in the industrial park.

For the Sino-South Korean (Yantai) Industrial Park, there have yet to be any released provincial implementation regulations.  However, according to relevant news reports, the industrial park will primarily explore the cooperation model of “two countries and two parks” with national economic parks in South Korea and will focus on emerging industries such as high-end services, new energy and new materials, smart manufacturing, and life sciences, as well as modern service industries such as logistics, trade and commerce, testing and certification, finance and insurance, and electronic commerce through development with Korean enterprises in showing the industrial park as a industry cooperation demonstration zone for Sino-South Korea free trade and a strategic cooperation platform for the “One Belt One Road” strategy.  Meanwhile, Yantai City is also intent on promoting investment facilitation, trade liberalization, financial internationalization and management institutionalization to create the best business environment for Korean enterprises that have settled in the industrial park, and on developing the Yantai Sino-South Korea Industrial Park into a flagship project for the cooperation between the China and South Korea governments.  In addition, the city has promulgated the Implementation Program for Expediting the Development of the Sino-South Korean (Yantai) Industrial Park by Replicating Experiences with Reform Pilots Such As the Promotion of Pilot Free Zones.

With respect to the Sino-South Korean (Huizhou) Industrial Park, the Huizhou Municipal Government has prepared regulatory documents such as the Specific Policy Measures to Support Expedited Development of the Sino-South Korea Industrial Park, which are currently under deliberation.  According to the Huizhou Daily News, the layout of the Sino-South Korean (Huizhou) Industrial Park will be “one park, two groups and several zones.”  “One park” refers to the Sino-South Korean (Huizhou) Industrial Park itself.  The “two groups” refers to the core group and the linking group, with each consisting of several zones.  The core group is the main body of the Sino-South Korean (Huizhou) Industrial Park, while the linking group is a facilitative and radiating driver area.  The “several zones” refers to functional zones with room for needed cooperation to be planned out based on the foundation, potentials and outlook of the Sino-South Korean (Huizhou) Industrial Park.  According to the news report, Huizhou City will develop ideas based on the recent focus of “six-core start, four-way link” and make an all-out effort in the initial demo construction of the core group centering on two major development areas.  The promotion efforts are focused on the initial development of six core zones such as the Pearl River Delta (Zhongkai) National Innovation Demonstration Zone, the High-end Manufacturing Concentration Zone, the Innovation and Headquarters Economic Zone, the International Cooperation Industrial Park, the Daya Bay Chemical Industrial Park, and the Harbor Comprehensive Bonded Zone, in which the deployment efforts center around industries such as electronic information, petroleum and chemical engineering, new energy, smart devices, cloud computing and big data, culture and creativity, and electronic commerce.

In general, the development of the three Sino-South Korean industrial parks is part of the China-Korea Free Trade Agreement and has drawn significant attention from various cities.  Compared with the economic industrial parks in the past, the China-South Korea industrial parks are putting more emphasis on attracting new and high-tech industries.  Although the cities are still at the preparatory and initial stages, their subsequent development is worthy of further attention.