Around 1,200 heavily-polluting factories will be shut in Beijing by the end of next year, one year earlier than planned, as the city tries to cut chronic levels of smog and attract greener, high growth industries and better-paid jobs.
Zhang Boxu, head of the Beijing Economy and Industrial Technology Commission, said in a Chinese television interview that by the end of this year a total of 1,000 factories or firms in traditional sectors will have left the city, with the remainder departing next year.
For the past several decades the capital had prioritised heavy industries such as steel, chemicals and equipment manufacturing. Of the 39 types of manufacturing and industry categorised by the Chinese government, Beijing has firms operating in 35.
Low-end industries such as textiles are big users of energy and water, and are also still highly labour-intensive, creating huge demand for low-paid, low-skilled workers. This makes it more difficult for municipal officials to manage and plan infrastructure and services.
Construction, chemicals, textiles, printing and dying, and processing of commodity steel, are among the industries Beijing wants moved out well beyond its city limits.
In response to growing unease in Chinese industry
that anti-smog measures will cost a large amount of jobs, government has put compensation policies in place. Firms that opt to relocate will be given help in finding new sites, constructing new factories, and other types of funding, mainly in neighbouring Hebei and Tianjin.
Through its ‘Beijing Innovation 2025’ plan, the city’s focus is now on advanced sectors such as electronics, IT, internet and information services, telecoms, healthcare, new energy vehicles and aerospace.
This article was originally published in the Beijing Morning Post and can be found here.