The container wharf at Qingdao Qianwan Port
"For 30 years, Qingdao has danced with the world, met great economic partners and made tremendous social progress," said Xia Geng, mayor of Qingdao.
As a result, the famed city on Shandong peninsula today offers an energetic and modern ambience.
Its latest embodiment was given a boost in 1984 when the port on the Huanghai Sea was named one of 14 coastal cities approved to open to the outside. A national economic and technological development area was established the same year.
The city was given provincial-level status in the State economic plan of 1986.
In 1992, the city opened a bonded area and a hi-tech industrial zone. It was then listed among 15 sub-provincial cities in 1994.
In January 1979, the first international compensation trade program in Shandong province was approved in Qingdao.
Thanks to the opening-up, Qingdao Huahe International Leasing Co Ltd, the city's first Sino-foreign joint venture, was established in May 1984.
Advanced technology and techniques have since modernized production and boosted famous-brand enterprises including Haier, Hisense and Doublestar.
Qingdao sent the first trade group to South Korea in 1988. Today South Korean firms are major partners for Qingdao enterprises.
China's entry into the WTO also sharpened Qingdao's edge.
From 2002 to 2007, the city approved 11,498 foreign-invested projects worth $34 billion in contracted capital.
By the end of 2007, 20,357 foreign-invested projects from 109 countries and regions had been approved by the city involving pledged capital of $51.3 billion and utilized capital of $27.7 billion.
International enterprises have to date created jobs for 780,000 people, about 40 percent of the city's total work force.
The firms also generate 60 percent of the city's total export volume.
More than 160 projects by 80 global Fortune 500 companies have begun operations in Qingdao, giving a strong boost to the city's modern manufacturing and service sectors.
After absorbing technology and investment, Qingdao companies then quickened their pace going international.
Haier Group has invested in 58 overseas projects, including 30 manufacturing facilities and three industrial parks. The Haier-Ruba Economic Zone in Pakistan was the first such zone abroad by a Chinese enterprise.
A combined $440 million in overseas investment by Qingdao companies has now reached 54 countries and regions.
In September 1987, Qingdao was approved for independent budgetary status for foreign trade and economic cooperation with its own import and export rights. Enterprises in the city have since grown to a total import and export volume of $43.61 billion in 2007, an average annual increase of 25.3 percent over $14.1 billion in 2002 and 154-fold over the $280 million in 1988. Export volume hit $26.78 billion in 2007, a yearly average increase of 25.8 percent over the $8.5 billion in 2002.
Total import and export volume broke through the benchmarks of $20 billion in 2004 and $40 billion in 2007.
By 2007, Qingdao had established trade cooperation with 192 countries and regions.
As one of the shipping centers in north China, Qingdao port has trade routes to more than 450 ports in over 130 countries and regions across the world. The volume of cargo through the port ranked seventh globally in 2007, with container throughput ranked 10th.
Its Liuting International Airport now has 95 domestic and overseas routes.
Over the past 30 years, six national zones - Qingdao National Economic and Technological Development Area, Qingdao Qianwan Bonded Port Area, Qingdao National Hi-tech Industrial Development Area, Qingdao Export Processing Zone, Qingdao Westcoast Export Processing Zone and Qingdao Shilaoren Tourist Vacation Area - were established, making it one of the cities with the most favorable policies in China.
Qingdao topped the national list of cities with a sound investment environment and was among the top 10 most competitive cities in China as ranked by China Central Television in 2004.
The city was named "China's Excellent Business City" by the Chinese version of Fortune magazine in 2004 and 2005. It was termed a "Golden City" for its sound investment environment by the World Bank in 2006.
Using the recent 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition as a valuable opportunity, Qingdao carried out a "sailing city" promotional campaign that greatly boosted the city's international profile.
As it continues to develop, Qingdao was approved to build the Qingdao Qianwan Port Bonded Zone this year.
Exhibitions and conventions have also seen brisk development. The city held the third Asia Cooperation Dialog Ministerial Meeting and a meeting of tourism ministers from China, South Korea and Japan.
The annual Qingdao International Beer Festival attracts global beer powerhouses to participate.
Through partnership with the giant Consumer Electronics Show held each January in Las Vegas, the China International Electronics Show in Qingdao attracts the industry's top manufacturers, purchasers and designers and is now one of the most important in the sector globally.