On 27th August, New York Times Square welcomed its latest Chinese guest. The outdoor advertisements for the China, Wenzhou, central innovation district appeared on the big screen on NASDAQ. The men behind this advertisement are the Wenzhounese, also known as the Jews of the East.
Wenzhou, more than 260 kilometers from Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou, was once a typical example of China’s rapid economic development in the 1990s. In the 1980s and 1990s, small commodities from Wenzhou swept across the world, and the Wenzhou Model dominating light manufacturing was once an indicator of China’s economy.
The change occurred in 2004 when the Wenzhou financial bubble burst, and in the context of global overcapacity, there was a heavy blow to the rise of Wenzhou in the form of crude growth. This may be the darkest hour for Wenzhou, but the Wenzhounese, also known as the Jews of the East, apparently will not be forgotten in the history. Wu Jinglian, an iconic figure in Chinese economics, also said on a forum that Wenzhou has a huge private economy and is confident in Wenzhou’s economic revival.
According to the statistical bulletin of Wenzhou in 2017, the total GDP of Wenzhou is 545.3 billion Chinese Yuan, ranking in the Top 3 of China’s Zhejiang province. The adjustment of industrial structure, the formation of the large-scale economy and the creation of an innovative and entrepreneurial atmosphere have brought back fast tracked economic growth in Wenzhou.
In interviews with people in China’s economic community, we found that the Wenzhou central innovation district, which featured in New York Times Square advertisements, was more like the Silicon Valley of Wenzhou. The new technologies driven by innovation are expected to be the main battleground of the new economy in the future of Wenzhou.
According to economists, this advertising campaign in New York Times Square can be seen as an oath made towards the city’s revival or the blow of a horn, foreshadowing its renaissance.