Located in the middle of Liaoning within a mountain area, Benxi is 84 kilometers south of Shenyang and 193 kilometers north of Dandong. 1.56 million people live here, including ethnic Manchu, Hui, Mongolian, Korean and other minorities. Benxi covers the four districts of Pingshan, Mingshan, Xihu and Nanfen, and two Manchu Autonomous counties, Benxi County and Huanren County. Benxi has plenty of mineral resources, making it the “Living Museum of Geography”.
With its clean air, mountains and rivers, Benxi is a pleasant town to live in. Notable hotels are the five-star Marriott Hotel and Taizi City Hotel, and the four-star Pearl Hotel in downtown. Shopping malls such as New-Mart and supermarkets like Vanguard cater for residents and tourists.
Benxi has marvelous natural landscapes: Benxi Water Cave, Guanmen Mountain Scenic Area, and Jiuding Tiecha Mountain. The city’s urban area is like a garden. Trees and flowers can be found everywhere in the green city. The UN has listed Benxi as a pilot city for the Agenda 21 in nature, ecological environment, sustainable development.
Benxi has improved the living conditions of residents and their environment. As a result of the “going green” campaign, the green coverage rate of the urban area has reached 40 percent. Special funds are allocated for the city’s infrastructure and renovation every year.
The distance between Benxi and Shenyang Taoxian International Airport is 50 kilometers, and 190 kilometers to the Port of Yingkou. Railways are connected with the national network and the Korean Peninsula. Benxi is part of the national Shenyang Metro development strategy and expects great impetus to the development of the city.
Benxi’s economy grew 9 percent in 2009 to a regional GDP of 68.84 billion RMB (9.83 billion USD). Value added of medium and large enterprises was 32 billion RMB (4.6 billion USD), up 18 percent. Fixed assets investment increased to 34 billion RMB (4.86 billion USD) in 2009. At an average salary of 28,382 RMB (4,054 USD), urban per-capita disposable income was 14,705 RMB (2,100 USD), and consumption per capita 11,218 RMB (1,602 USD).
Benxi is speeding up its economic development. With 46 large and medium-sized enterprises in Benxi, main industrial products are raw iron (14 million tons), steel (13 million tons), finished steel (12 million tons), cement (3 million tons) and raw coal (1 million tons). In 2008, 92,615 people were employed in manufacturing, 20,368 in education, 19,228 in public administration and social organizations, 17,913 persons in the mining industry, and 12,997 in transportation and storage. According to the type of business ownership, 63,000 were employed in private companies.
Benxi has long been a “city of coal and iron”, with raw materials industry as the mainstay. But the city has started to develop a multitude of industries, such as metallurgical industry, iron and steel deep processing, building materials manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining, and chemical and chemical products industry. The industrial pattern of the city supports a focus on metallurgical industry, supplemented with many “special, fine, new and customized” products. The economic structure is based on two large group enterprises, Bengang (Benxi Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd.) and Beigang (Beitai Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd.), and supplemented by 7 industrial parks.
Based on the iron and steel processing industry, four related industries take the lead:
- Automobile parts industry. The production of crankshaft has topped one million, Benxi is one of the leading producers in terms of both quality and quantity. It also plays a significant role in production of auto wheels.
- Assembly and installation industry for equipment manufacturing. Currently, Benxi has 8 enterprises being partners of equipment manufacturers in Shenyang.
- Local enterprises, which used to produce spare parts only for local steel enterprises, started to expand their market to the whole country.
- Benxi is building a national top level precision casting center to turn the resource advantage into a market advantage.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is another prosperous sector of Benxi. Medicinal herbs are grown on fields of 466 square kilometers. With total assets of TCM enterprises topping 200 million RMB (about 28 million USD), Benxi has become the “King of TCM” in Liaoning. The number of pharmaceutical enterprises has exceeded 50, most of them private enterprises, and 15 of them have an annual sales income of more than 5 million RMB (0.7 million USD). With an industrial value added of 940 million RMB (135 million USD) and profits and taxes of 718 million RMB (103 million USD) in 2008, these enterprises have ranked No. 1 in the pharmaceutical industry of Liaoning for five consecutive years.
In 2009, the foreign direct investment of the city was 201 million USD, increased by 78 percent over 2008, and exceeding the 200 million USD mark for the first time.
Total export volume was 646 million USD, total import 1.501 billion USD, up 19 percent.