Chinese Economy: Fueling economic diversity in oil town
China's northeast region has a rich history, fueling economic growth in the nation. Nearly 60-years ago -- a huge oil reserve was discovered --Springing up from the find, is the city of Daqing. Leaders in the northeast say economic growth in the region is lagging behind other provinces - and they are watching developments at the Two Sessions closely. CGTN's Sean Callebs has more from Daqing.
Daqing is not a city built with bricks and mortar — It's foundation is oil. Crude oil was discovered in China's northeast back in 1959, and the city of nearly three-million, grew up, around the massive reservoir. For decades Daqing has been the country's largest oilfield.
CHENG JIECHENG, DEPUTY CHIEF ENGINEER DAQING OIL FIELD "This has greatly contributed to China's economy and the prosperity in the northeast cities."
The oil fields are now in decline — After turning out more than 50-million tons of oil a year for nearly three decades —Output began dropping in 2006 —falling about seven-percent a year. But there is new economic hope here —with the addition of a Volvo car manufacturing plant in 2015, -employing 28-hundred people including Wang Cong, who lives at home with his parents.
QIAO SHUNA MOTHER "I feel my child works so hard, he wakes up at four in the morning, -leaves at 5:10 and won't come back until five in the afternoon."
Her husband has worked in the Daqing oil fields for decades. Now, her son is carrying to torch, rolling up his sleeves and heading off to work each day.
WANG CONG VOLVO MANUFACTURING EMPLOYEE "When I first got to work, my family taught me to take everything seriously —work hard and overcome difficulties. I think that is how the iron man spirit and Daqing spirit have been inherited and spread. "
LIU ZHONGXU, DIRECTOR DAQING AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT "As a remote area in this country, we admit that the economy of the northeast provinces is left behind compared with the more developed provinces in the south."
SEAN CALLEBS DAQING, HEILONGJIANG PROVINCE "Government leaders in Daqing hope more car manufacturers and related businesses trickle in to the region. They also say each year it seems more and more local residents follow developments from two sessions. They know the programs, platforms, and reforms could lead to more business investment and opportunities in the northeast of China."
Yang Huailong has owned his own garage in Daqing for about two years. There's a saying, many bristle at in the depressed Northeast, "Investment stops at the east end of the Great Wall" — meaning their region is left out in the cold.
YANG HUAILONG GARAGE OWNER "There will soon be a new auto market that is currently under planning. This Daqing industry of auto parts, auto-repair, and second hand car business will be the largest of its kind in northeast China -and will drive the economy."
More than half-a-century ago — Mao Zedong issued the challenge to China, "In industry —learn from Daqing." Today, —there is hope new industry can revitalize not just Daqing, but a large depressed region.
LIU ZHONGXU, DIRECTOR DAQING AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT "If Daqing succeeds it will be significant for other resource-based cities in northeast China —like Hegang and Jixi that seek to break through and find a way out to success."
In the interim — the hundreds and hundreds of oil pumps dotting Daqing continue the endless up and down. But the reserve is far from endless. The goal is to keep them churning for another 40 years — Marking 100 years of oil field productivity here —and time to energize news industries, Sean Callebs, CGTN Daqing.