By Ryoichiro Furusawa, Marubeni Qingdao Co., Ltd.
Qingdao is a large city situated on the tip of the ShanDong Peninsula with a population of seven and a half million and some of the finest views in all of China. An excellent natural harbor, the city’s hub spreads out from Jiaozhou Bay. What’s more, the nearby Laoshan Mountain National Scenic Area has been a religious center of Taoism since the Han Dynasty, and features many Taoist temples. A lift allows one to easily ascend and descend the mountain. Said to be a Chinese tourist city accessible for Japanese people, more than anything, Qingdao is of course known as the town where the authentic Tsingtao Beer tastes the best.
With a history as a tourist spot for about 100 years, the beautiful blue-green sea, lush green cityscape, and the grand structures seen in various locations giving off a European air all bear mentioning. The government too is focusing particularly on tourism. As for life in Qingdao, as it is surrounded by the sea, an abundance of sea food is available in the city, and fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits sent from nearby rural villages adorn dining tables.
The climate is humid, and this causes trouble with laundry not drying in the summer. The winter months are longer compared with Japan, with strong seasonal winds from the mainland, so living in a house equipped with steam driven space heating is required. Also, as well as Chinese brand companies such as Haier and Hisense with a string of locations, the joint venture textile company which Marubeni started up with Qingdao Jifa Group is also running smoothly.
Commercial facilities such as those of Jusco and Carrefour are also positioned in the center of the city and support the lifestyles of citizens. Every year there is a Japan Week, in which exchanges are deepened in the fields of the economy, culture, sports, and the like.
Shandong Province is developing expressways, but also in Qingdao, as a new industrial city project, a bridge and a tunnel linking the Huangdao District on the opposite shore, due for completion in 2009, are expected to make traffic even more convenient. Qingdao is linked as far as Shandong’s provincial capital of Jinan by a bullet train which incorporated Japanese technology, taking comfortable two and a half hours. Qingdao Japanese School was opened in 2004, making it easier to stay with one’s family, and by the end of 2007 a long-awaited new school building will be completed. There are also international schools in the area, due to the brisk foray of mainly Korean businesses. In line with the increase of people commuting by car, the severe morning and evening traffic jams cause troubles, but under the living conditions of a densely packed and mid-sized city, living here is still somehow comfortable.
Chosen as the site for the sailing completion of the Beijing Olympics to be held in 2008, Qingdao is seeing the building of infrastructure, with development also ongoing near the Marubeni Qingdao offices, and counts 3,200 people as being registered Japanese expatriates. Under the slogan of “Qingdao toasts with the world,” the Qingdao International Beer Festival is held each August, where one can savor the famous Chinese white rice wine, which can have an alcoholic content of even 70%, at the parties.
By all means, please visit Qingdao, a city of promising international expansion.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.41 (September, 2007)