Changchun: A model for reviving industrial cities worldwide

Speaking of Changchun, many readers may feel not familiar with it. She does not have the top-level automobile industry like Detroit, nor the first-class steel industry like Ruhr. However, this city deserves to be the learning model for industrial cities around the world in the 21st century, because she demonstrates the great vitality and renewal through industrial upgrading.

Changchun is one of the earliest developed industrial cities in China. In the 1950s and 1960s, there are many heavy industries located here, but like many old industrial area, with the renewal of the economic development, the status of heavy industries gradually declined, and the economic development of Changchun also came into a standstill. However, through a series of measures, local government managed to bring this city back to life. In the upper half of 2017, we find that the local GDP amazingly increases by 8%, which shows that the city is as energetic as the Silicon Valley. How do they do that?


The local government mainly employs four methods. In the first place, the government take a broad and long-term view to establish a development direction of replacing the old industry with new industry, to turn traditional manufacturing to manufacture smartly, strive to develop electro optical technology, new materials, new energy automobile and big data industry. At present, the prior-period investment has gradually been paid off very well.

Secondly, the government improves the infrastructure construction. The reason why the economy of many old industry areas like Sheffield in Britain continue to decline is due to the lack of infrastructure construction. In contrast, Changchun heavily invests in infrastructure and build high-speed rails and ports, these investments soon get reward. Nowadays, Changchun has already become an important kink in the Belt and Road Initiative of China.

The third approach is optimizing the investment environment. Changchun government greatly simplifies the examining and approval for business matters to make the approval process less time-consuming for the solution of the problems from the investors and to attract increasingly more investments.

The fourth one is sticking to the educational input. The local government believes in “We cannot save the expenditure on education after all and nothing can be done without the scientific research.” The universities headed by Jilin University cultivate lots of top talents for Changchun. Resource exploration major of Jilin University ranks first in China, Professor Huang Danian in that area is the national role model and is made into TV Series. Recently, Jilin University assists the government in prospecting large giant reserves of shale oil in Jilin Province. It is the investment in education that makes Changchun a cradle of brilliant talents and lays the foundation for the revival of Changchun economy.


Except for the above four measures, Changchun government insists on the input on the cultural recreation in the economic downturn to improve the morale and sense of happiness for people. Through the forms of movies and characteristic comedy, the government disseminate Changchun culture to improve the self-esteem and confidence. Also, the government strongly support the development of sports. There is a famous football team named” Changchun Yatai”, which is just like the epitome of Changchun City. It used won the championship, but due to the lack of funding it turns into recession. However, with the fortitude of Changchun people, it keeps from being demoted year after year, and finally comes back as a top team again. Undoubtedly, their fighting will encourages the spirit of Changchun people.

The most valuable thing is that during the economic recovery, Changchun government can still protect the environment at the same time. The entry for polluting enterprises are prohibited or they need to do transformation before the entry. Today’s Changchun revives again as a city of green hills and clear water.

Nowadays, many heavy industrial areas become the “rust belt” and is struggling to get out from the recession, while Changchun has revived as a new industry city incredibly, which is a miracle in world economic history and is worth learning and taking as reference for all the industrial cities in the world. 

Changchun means forever young in Chinese, wish this model city of eternal youth and vitality like this name.


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