Thanks to the invitation of the Weihai Bureau of Commerce and the brand recognition of OnGreen in China due to its work and expansion there over the past two years, I got a chance to visit Weihai this week as their guest. For those who have never heard of Weihai, you can read the Wikipedia article here.
The first thing that hit me upon coming out of the airport after arrival was the freshness of the air and the blue skies – both of which are very rare commodities in other parts of China. The city reminds me of Santa Barbara (a sister city of Weihai) and San Sebastian (Basque region of Spain).
Weihai is known for its very clean environment, amazing seafood, friendly people, low cost of living and best of all, a very good climate to do business driven by several incentives provided by the local government agencies and economic and investment zones.
I got a view of Liugong Island from my hotel room at sunrise. Known as the birthplace of the Chinese navy, it also has China’s first golf course which was built by the British.
The city also is home to some of the best golf courses and hot springs in the country.
My trip agenda consisted of getting a feel of the eco-system and community of Weihai as well as meeting with some officials and visiting the economic zones which offer incentives to foreign companies.
Weihai and its neighbor, Yantai, are building the largest wine-producing region in the world. Yantai has over 40 vineyards. The one I got to visit was Weihai Weal. Good wine, I must say. They also have a sister brewery serving some very fresh beer. The food served during the various banquet dinners consisted of some extremely rare seafood delicacies such as thorned sea cucumbers, massive shrimp, abalone and sea urchins.
I was able to visit Shandong University‘s Weihai campus and was told that Shandong province is one of the largest universities in the world in terms of the number of registered students at a give time.
During a tour of their IT/Computer Science Department, I walked into an ongoing Hackathon where a huge hall filled with students and instructors were going at it for 72 hours straight.
The city officials gave a presentation of the different incentives available. Weihai and its various districts are very interested in attracting top talent – both from within China and from outside China – to Weihai and showering them with some great financial incentives – most of which are performance based. A big emphasis for them remains growth in IT given the economical and highly talented resources available in the city. The incentives come from different level – from the Central Administration to the provincial level to the City level and down to the appropriate economic zone – in a very cumulative manner. Very attractive indeed.
The City is also investing heavily in building the green and blue economies and keen on inviting and investing into “new energy” companies. With ample water resources and a strategic location, I thought that they were some great objectives for the local government.
Weihai and its neighboring cities are going through some major infrastructure advancements with a high speed rail connecting it to Yantai and Qingdao (home of Tsingtao beer) – which in turn connects to the main Chinese hub of high speed rail going to Beijing. It is also building express ways between all major cities. Most developments are expected to complete and open to the public by 2015.
Can’t wait to go back again!