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An introduction to Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone (referred to as WHDZ, also known as Hannan)

Updated: 2021-08-10

1. Location advantage

Located in the southwest of Wuhan city, capital of Central China's Hubei province, Wuhan Economic & Technological Development Zone (WHDZ) is adjacent to the Yangtze River to the east. It is located between Wuhan's Third Ring Road and Outer Ring Road with vast development areas and prominent location advantages.

2. Economic scale

Following three decades of growth, the WHDZ has formed an industrial cluster dominated by the automobile industry, electronic appliances, and other industries.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), the zone's auto industry saw a total output value of more than 1.16 trillion yuan ($179.45 billion). It also manufactured and sold around 5.5 million completed vehicles and produced nearly 80 million units (sets) of household appliances, with an output value of more than 150 billion yuan.

The WHDZ is now home to nearly 30,000 enterprises. The number of enterprises with an output value of more than 5 billion yuan accounts for one third of the city's total, and the industrial output value accounts for a quarter of the city's total. It has also become an area with the most foreign technical professionals in the city.

Among 219 national-level development zones, the WHDZ ranks 10th in terms of comprehensive strength, also first in China's central and western regions. 

In 2020, an assessment of key economic indicators in the development zone – such as fixed asset investment, industrial investment, added value of the service industry, actual use of foreign capital, and actual funds in place for investment promotion – saw it rank among the best in the city.

In 2020, the total amount of funds in place for the development zone to complete investment promotion was 83 billion yuan, and the actual use of foreign capital was $2.15 billion. Its actual use of foreign capital index score ranked first in the city.

3. Industrial clusters

The WHDZ has established itself as a world-class automobile industrial cluster. It boasts eight complete vehicle companies and 13 production plants, and is seeking new breakthroughs on an industrial scale in such areas as industry supply chains, technological innovation, the automobile service industry, and more fields. It also strives to build a demonstration area for the 5G internet of vehicles, and a demonstration area for intelligent connected vehicle applications.

As a 100 billion yuan-level new energy industrial cluster focused on the development of lithium power batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, the WHDZ established the Wuhan Hydrogen Energy Industry Alliance to boost development of the energy recycling industry and energy service industry.

On top of that, the WHDZ hosts a 50 billion yuan-level new materials industrial cluster based on existing industries, and has cultivated and developed new materials industry supply chains, built new materials industrial parks, and introduced a number of key enterprises in the fields of advanced structural materials, new functional materials, and cutting-edge new materials.

4. Technological innovation

The WHDZ highlights the core role of innovation-driven development, accelerates the construction of the vehicle valley industry innovation corridor, encourages continuous growth of new industries and new business, and continues to stimulate economic development momentum.

It currently boasts 339 high-tech enterprises, whose output value exceeds 200 billion yuan, accounting for 24 percent of the city's total.

The innovation platform in the zone has been fully upgraded. It has been home to two national-level enterprise technology centers and 45 enterprise technology platforms above the provincial level.

The total number of invention patent applications for enterprises in the zone has exceeded 6,800, and every 10,000 people have 61 invention patents, ranking first in the city.

5. Policy system

The WHDZ has accelerated the cultivation of market innovation entities, enhanced independent innovation capabilities of enterprises, promoted transfer and transformation of scientific and technological achievements, strengthened the construction of innovation and entrepreneurship platforms, and built an inspection and testing service industrial cluster.

It has also launched a raft of talent policies for high-end professionals, backbone talents, professionals with doctorates, and highly-skilled talents.

6. Livable environment

The WHDZ has many ecological resources, including 26 lakes, 47 kilometers of high-quality waterways, Dajun Mountain, Xiaojun Mountain, and Longling Mountain.

It owns the largest single shopping mall of Japan's AEON brand in China, AEON MALL, as well as the Wanda Plaza, which can meet the shopping and leisure needs of residents.

It has schools such as Wuhan Yangtze International School, which is Central China's largest international school, Wuhan San New School, Wuhan Foreign Languages School (elementary and middle departments), and ISA International School, which is still under construction.

In terms of medical resources, the WHDZ is home to the west division of the Union Hospital, which is affiliated with Tongji Medical College Huazhong University of Science and Technology's Tongji Medical College, Wuhan Asia Heart Hospital, and the west division of Wuhan Children's Hospital. It has also introduced high-end medical projects such as the heavy ion treatment center, which is still under construction.

It is also known for having the largest single football park in the country, and the largest stadium in Central China – Wuhan Sports Center.

The zone is also favored for its Tanghu Park where tourism and recreation are integrated with cultural and sports activities. The park has an art gallery, a library, and the Tanghu Theatre, which are popular among residents to spend their leisure time.