Nestled in Guangdong province, at the confluence of the West, North and Sui Rivers, Sanshui Industrial Park (SIP) is a new park in an old industrial neighborhood.
As part of the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (PRDEZ), the country’s first test bed of
capitalist reforms, SIP was set up in 2003, and after beginning to attract high-tech investment for a few years, it was upgraded to a national high-tech industrial park in February 2008.
Sanshui’s status has been boosted by its proximity to Guangdong’s other boomtowns and the infrastructure that fueled their booms. The park is situated 22 kilometers away from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, well-connected by expressways and rail lines, and is a half-hour drive from Sanshui Port and Xinan Port.
As with most parks in the PRDEZ, growth rates in SIP have been high – the gross industrial output was US$3.1 billion in 2007, up 28.1% year-on-year, with 48 new companies investing in projects. An additional 20 have invested so far this year.
Budweiser Beer, American INVISTA, Andritz-Wolfensberger and Spanish Moidecar are among the foreign players with a presence in the park.
Household electronic appliances, ceramics, plastics, stainless steel and aluminum-alloy production are currently the biggest industries in Foshan, the Guangdong city where SIP is located. But Sanshui’s promotion to a national high-tech industrial park means, like many other parks around the country, Sanshui plans to climb the value chain.
“We plan to greatly develop higher tech industries,” said Liu Xiaoming, vice director of SIP.
High-end machinery, auto parts manufacturing, medical device production and electronics have been earmarked as pillar industries for the park’s future.
The industrial park currently contains over 320 corporations, over 50 of which are foreign-owned or joint venture enterprises. Japanese heavyweights Mitsubishi, Honda and Itochu Corporation all have operations here, but most investment comes in the form of small- and medium-sized enterprises and domestic companies.
“Sanshui is a latecomer,” said Helen Zhang, general manager of Rohm and Haas greater China, a paint and coating materials manufacturer with a factory in SIP. “But when we looked at expanding our supply network, South China was next. [Near Sanshui] the supply chain and transportation lines are good.”
In addition to having access to an already well-established infrastructure network in
Guangdong, Sanshui’s belated arrival has other benefits.
“Sanshui started later than the other parks in the area, so in terms of available land we are number one,” said Hui Ouyang, an employee at SIP’s investment promotion bureau. ”And our land quality is very good for industrial use.”
A once-hilly terrain has been leveled, opening up new land for construction. Land costs are about US$42 per square meter in Sanshui, compared to US$49-105 in other areas equally distant to Guangzhou. Land in Shunde, another industrial park in Foshan is US$49 per sq m.
Sanshui’s efficient government has also taken cues from its more mature sister parks by streamlining registration procedures and offering extra customer support services to companies upon arrival.
Emphasizing the need to simplify and speed up the examination procedure for approving investment and construction, the park’s approval process for new projects has been cut down to 30 working days.
“At an early stage, we did not have a facility or working area,” said Rohm and Haas’s Zhang. “But Sanshui’s leaders gave us great support in the initial stage, in choosing land and preparing things like electricity, power, water and business preparation.”