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Rapidly devloping Tinajin is full of exciting opportunities in the service outsourcing industry, says Yang Bing, Deputy Director of Tianjin Commission of Commerce.

Did you know that Tianjin is the most important economic centre in the north of China? In 2006, the opening up of Tianjin Binhai New Area was incorporated into the national development strategy by the central government, meaning that Tianjin will become the third economic engine of China after Shenzhen and Shanghai.

One of four municipalities directly under central government control (the other three being Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing), Tianjin has a population of 12 million. By high-speed train it only takes 30 minutes to travel the 120km to and from Beijing. From 2007 to 2010, the annual GDP growth rate of Tianjin was maintained at 16 to 18 per cent, even during 2008 and 2009 when the world was undergoing the financial crisis.

The amount of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Tianjin has also been growing at a rate of 20 to 40 per cent in recent years. In 2008, FDI increased 40 per cent, and in 2010 the annual growth of FDI amounted to US$10.8 billion. Presently, 22,000 foreign-funded enterprises have settled in Tianjin, with 114 multinational corporations listed in the Fortune 500 Magazine involved in 362 projects. As per the orientation given by the central government of China, Tianjin will be developed into an international port city. It will be the economic centre of northern China and an ecological city that provides people with a comfortable living environment.

The service outsourcing industry of Tianjin is transforming into a high-end industrial chain. In 2007, the central government approved Tianjin as one of 21 demonstration cities for the service outsourcing industry in China. Now there are three state-level demonstration zones and six city-level zones for service outsourcing, and a two million square metre area is available for companies to settle in. Presently there are 208 service outsourcing companies in Tianjin including the likes of Volvo IT and Tata, and 70,000 people working in the software and service outsourcing sectors.

Essentially, there are three main advantages that have contributed to the rapid development of the service outsourcing industry in Tianjin. Firstly, the sound foundation of the manufacturing industry provides a good environment for the parallel development of the service outsourcing industry. Historically, Tianjin was an industrial city. Now it has developed eight pillar industries including aviation & aerospace, petrochemical, equipment manufacturing, IT, biopharmaceuticals, new energy & new materials, light industry & textiles, and national defence technology. These eight pillar industries plus the fast growth of modern logistics, finance & insurance, and the innovation industry of Tianjin, have created a huge service demand in the city.

Secondly, there is an abundant supply of talent. Currently there are 58 universities and colleges in Tianjin and around 406,000 students, among which 37,700 are postgraduates. More than 800 doctors are working in post-doctorate placements. Tianjin has also formulated a series of incentive policies to attract talent to live and work in Tianjin.

Thirdly, Tianjin is also comparatively cost efficient. Compared with Beijing and Shanghai, labour and business costs in Tianjin are lower, and service outsourcing companies can benefit from the competitiveness that comes as a result of this cost advantage.

In China, there’s a saying that it’s better to see than to hear a hundred times. The Tianjin Commercial Board delegation would like others to share in Tianjin’s recent economic development, particularly in the city’s service outsourcing industry. We sincerely hope that guests can join the seminar and visit Tianjin at the earliest convenience to see it for themselves. We hope more British friends can come to Tianjin in person and find business opportunities here.

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