The blue economy or marine economy has become increasingly important for countries not only to generate a new source of growth but also to construct the coexistence between humans and the environment. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has attached great importance to the blue economy since the beginning of the 21st century. During the past 2 decades, the PRC’s blue economy has undergone considerable development. Its share in the GDP has increased substantially and remains large. The blue economy has become a national strategy, though traditionally the PRC has not relied heavily on marine resources. The PRC’s approach to the blue economy has also experienced transformative change during the last decade. In the policy directive and at the practice level, ecological sustainability and marine environmental protection have already become an important part of the blue economy in the PRC.
We argue that government policy and industrial clusters are the two most important factors that contribute to the development of the PRC’s blue economy, as the case study of the Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone (SP-BEZ) demonstrates. First, government policy is the basis for the establishment and development of the SP-BEZ. The PRC’s government has provided policy guidance and assistance for the development of the blue economy. Both central and municipal governments have sponsored the SP-BEZ project, providing considerable financial and technological support. With the government’s encouragement, blue finance has developed due to the public–private partnerships in the blue economy. Second, industrial clusters are both the means and the end for the SP-BEZ. To promote the development of the blue economy in the SP-BEZ, the government has made full use of Shandong Peninsula’s industrial advantages to redistribute and restructure the industries in the region. The SP-BEZ has formed industrial clusters with the support of its advantageous scientific and technological research and development in the blue economy. These industrial clusters have not only integrated a wide range of different industries but also helped to promote the domestic regional economic integration in the Shandong Peninsula.
WORKING PAPER NO: 1296