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Sea change as growth rises 11%

CHINA'S seas contributed 2.97 trillion yuan (US$434.53 billion), or 9.87 percent, of the country's gross domestic product last year, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

Its report on China's marine economy in 2008 said that the value of marine industries, including fishing, transport, oil and gas, tourism and shipbuilding, grew 11 percent year-on-year, faster than the nation's economy as a whole.

The main pillars of the marine economy were the traditional industries of transport, tourism and fishing, which accounted for 77.69 percent of total output value.

SOA spokesman Li Haiqing said: "The industries including tourism, transport, and oil and gas saw slower growth in 2008 because of the winter storm at the beginning of last year and the financial crisis in the latter half year. Though receiving less orders amid the crisis, the ship building sector managed to maintain fast growth."

The value of the ship building industry hit 76.2 billion yuan in 2008, up 36.4 percent.

Emerging industries, such as the oceanic biological pharmaceutical industry, which generated more than 5.8 billion yuan last year, up more than 28.3 percent year-on-year, grew swiftly, according to the report.

The marine industry employed 32.18 million people last year, 670,000 more than in 2007, the report said.

The gross production value in the Bohai Bay Rim Area was 1.07 trillion yuan, or 36.1 percent of total output of the marine sector, while the gross production of the Yangtze River Delta region amounted to about 958.4 billion yuan, or 32.3 percent of total output.


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