By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao ( China Daily )
Business site offers method of sustainable development
At first sight, the new business development zone in Qing-dao resembles a park, with a large swath of grassland and a tranquil lake populated by egrets and wild ducks.
The seemingly untouched state of the property at the Sino-German Ecopark is exactly what the designers intended.
"The mission of the Sino-German Ecopark is to provide an experimental field for the transformation and upgrading of the country's economic and technical development zones," said Zhao Shiyu, director of the business park's management committee.
"It is a test ground for sustainable development in the future. What's more important in our work is not to create GDP, but to explore a new way of development for China."
A pastoral environment and green development are key characteristics for the ecopark, the only one jointly developed by China and Germany. The development has been environmentally friendly since its inception.
The ecopark embraces all things German: concept, standards, technology and capital.
Many top German companies were involved in the design of the park and its structures were built with green technology to ensure energy efficiency. It has met initial standards set by DGNB, the German Sustainable Building Council, for its Gold Award, the world's strictest authentication for green sustainable buildings.
The park's German Center, the third such center in China and the eighth in the world, is an important platform for small- and medium-sized German companies seeking to do business in China. The center has attracted the attention of many German companies, including Steigenberger, a leading German hotel group, and Siempelkamp, which produces machine and plant engineering systems.
Many of the businesses setting up shop in the park are dubbed "invisible champions" in Germany, an appellation that refers to relatively unknown companies that are leading their market segments.
Germany has the most of these invisible champions - about 1,200. The total is twice that of the United States, six times that of Japan and 12 times that of China.
"You can follow the latest technology and sense future development trends through these companies at the park," Zhao said.
It is planned to first promote the ecopark technology in Qingdao, then to the whole country.
As a counter to concerns about serious pollution, the ecopark has also introduced the Passive House project. Passive House is a method of construction that employs rigorous standards for energy efficiency while seeking to reduce a building's ecological footprint. It results in ultralow energy consumption for heating and cooling.
The construction criteria is not confined to residential properties. Office buildings, schools, kindergartens and supermarkets can be constructed with the same standards.
The German Passive House Experience Center has completed building construction, and a China Institute of Passive House has set up.
In 2014, a memorandum of understanding for the Passive House project at the park was signed during a meeting between Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Early this month, the first high-end manufacturing project started trial production at the park. Siempelkamp, which has a 130-year history in Germany, has a hand mold casting factory that is the biggest in the world.
The ecopark project mainly involves the manufacture of equipment for processing fiber-reinforced composite boards, and forming presses for metal sheets, heat exchange plates, hydroforming and pipeline forming.