A delegation from the Chinese city of Baoding visited Finland this week.  The delegation, which consisted of several members of Baoding’s Municipal Council including the city’s Deputy Mayor, spent a day visiting several facilities and organizations specializing in elderly care and social welfare in the greater Helsinki area.

In addition these visits the delegation was also very keen to hear about Synocus’ Low-carbon city programs.  Synocus presented their Eco Urban Living and World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities programs to the representatives from Baoding, emphasizing the benefits of a broad, collaborative multi-national and multi-disciplinary approach to addressing such grand challenges as climate change. The members of the delegation expressed an interest in these projects and reported that they would consider sending representatives of the city to the upcoming Fifth Sino-Finnish Innovativeness Forum this September.

This interest is a continuation of the city’s history of active participation in the field of low-carbon development and climate-change mitigation, as demonstrated by the city’s presence at the 2nd Sino-Finnish Innovativeness Forum in Shenzhen, at which the city was represented by members of the Baoding Development and Reform Commission.  Furthermore, the city of Baoding is among the participants in a Chinese Low-carbon city pilot program which aims to develop several major Chinese cities into more sustainable, green urban environments.

Baoding is a northern Chinese metropolis in the province of Hebei.  The city borders Beijing, located a mere 140km away, and is located a mere 140km from Tianjin, the central transportation hub in north China.  The completion of a high-speed railway between the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Baoding, in 2012, will bring Baoding within a thirty minute journey of three airports and two seaports.  The 22,000 km2 city is home to approximately 1,150,000 residents.  With its eleven universities, 84 vocational schools and over 140 research institutes, Baoding is home to strong technological and scientific research and education communities. Baoding’s economy has traditionally been driven by its strong and well-regarded technological and textile manufacturing industries.  As a result of the city’s focus on low-carbon development, the new energy industry has risen to prominence in Baoding.

Baoding is one the pilot cities participating in a national low-carbon city program aimed at making a number of the nation’s most significant cities more sustainable by integrating environmentally-sound practices and low-carbon technologies.  Baoding’s new energy sector leads the nation in the development of new energy technology and innovation as well as the manufacturing of energy-conserving windows and doors.  The city is home to the greatest concentration of new energy industry businesses, with over 170 related companies having been founded in Baoding and annual revenue of RMB 500 billion.

The strengths of the city’s new energy sector are reflected in Baoding’s commitment to renewable energy sources in their own energy supply, the city was named a pilot city in a national program promoting solar energy adoption.  Furthermore, the city leads the nation in wind power generation and photovoltaic power generation.

In addition to a thriving new energy industry, Baoding is also home to several major automotive industry companies.  The city’s automotive industry plays a leading role in the domestic markets for: pickups, SUVs, mini-buses and spare parts.  In 2007, Baoding was named the “National Auto and Parts Export Base” by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce.  The city is home to such automotive industry leaders as: the Great Wall group (a market-leader in the sale and export of pickups), Hebei ChangAn Group (China’s leading producer of mini-trucks), Lizhong Wheel Group (one of China’s largest producers of aluminum alloy wheels) and Fengfan Co. Ltd. (an established battery producer).  Baoding’s combination of an engaged and committed municipal government and robust new energy and automotive industries place it in an ideal position for a successful journey to a sustainable, low-carbon future.