Qingdao officials are aiming to make their city the Shanghai of the north: the prime commercial, transport, and industrial gateway to the heavily populated cities along the Yellow River-- just as Shanghai is to the Yangtze.
Altogether, the planners envision building 50 industrial zones, new suburbs, a seaside tourism district, a container port, and a commercial district of 159 sq. km to be connected to downtown by a 16-km, six-lane bridge over Jiaozhou Bay. To capitalize on the city's distinctive architecture, government offices and cadres' families are being relocated, and the old villas refurbished and sold off to investors.
Whether or not the city will be able to raise the money required to pay for this dream is debatable, given the hot rivalry for investment from other cities. But three expressways have already been completed, Hewlett-Packard Co. and AT&T have announced that they intend to put plants in the new high-tech zone, and 17 foreign-financed office towers and factories are under construction. A new "beer city" is to be centered around the famed Tsingdao Brewery. (In the old system of Western transliteration, Qingdao was spelled Tsingdao.) The Germans, who built the brewery, too, will no doubt be toasted with a few ganbeis.