Yantai in Shandong province has made significant efforts in recent years to improve its infrastructure, in order to build the city into an important trade and economic center with the backing of the Belt and Road Initiative.
As a key city along the route of the ancient Silk Road, Yantai has many advantages to complement the Belt and Road Initiative, including its advanced transportation system, and advanced state of reforms and opening-up.
"Yantai is a city full of vigor along the route of the Belt and Road. As one of the first batch of 14 coastal cities to implement the policy of reform and opening-up, Yantai must now continuously expand its industry abroad," said Li Ming, administrative deputy director of Yantai's publicity department.
"Yantai has now established relationships with 64 countries along the route of the Belt and Road," Li said.
"By the end of 2016, Yantai had invested in 139 projects in 28 countries in the areas of infrastructure, energy and food processing. The total investment value amounted to 1.1 billion yuan ($162.4 million)," he added.
In the first quarter of this year, the city expanded the number of cooperation projects it had agreed with countries along the route of the Belt and Road to five, two more compared with the same period last year.
In terms of opening-up, Yantai has made every effort to build overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, and encourages local companies to expand their businesses in countries with rich resources and bright prospects.
In these overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, Yantai will build industrial parks and economic and trade platforms. So far, China has 20 national-level overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, of which two are headed by Yantai-based firms.
The two overseas economic and trade cooperation zones are the China-Hungary trade and economic zone, which received investment from Wanhua Chemical Group, and the China-Russia timber trade cooperation zone, which received investment from Avic Forestry.
Yantai's government has always encouraged local businesses to attach great importance to innovation and cooperation. Local firms are urged to develop innovation platforms, set up sales networks abroad and cooperate in energy and project contracting.
The Belt and Road Initiative will strongly promote the development of Yantai's local businesses, especially energy firms.
"Our company's main growth point lies in the longest economic corridor in the world," said Shi Haijiao, international business promotion manager of Jereh Group.
"Jereh has developed energy projects in 63 countries and regions and established institutions and offices in more than 50 cities," he added.
"We have businesses in countries along the route of the Belt and Road, including Russia and Pakistan. We have also set up sub companies in Kazakhstan and signed strategic cooperation agreements with the Kazakhstan Oil Geological Prospecting Institute," he said.
Yantai now has strong trade connections with countries along the Belt and Road routes.
In 2016, the city's import and export value totaled 52.6 billion yuan with 64 countries involved in the Belt and Road. In the first quarter of 2017, its import and export value with countries along the Belt and Road hit 11.9 billion yuan, an increase of 18.4 percent.