Campus News

Paper offers glimpse behind The Great Wall

The Great Wall has been a symbolic barrier between China and world for many centuries. In the past several decades the economic development of China has been recognised internationally, yet in the area of statistics on the marine economy, international researchers have not had ready access to the data from China.

The development of statistics on the marine economy in China is the focus of an insightful paper co-authored by UOW’s Professor Alistair McIlgorm of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), Ms Wei Ling Song and Dr Guang Shun He (both senior staff of China’s National Marine Date and Information Service).

The paper, titled ‘ From behind the Great Wall: The development of statistics on the marine economy in China’, is to be published in the May 2013 (Volume 39) edition of the Marine Policy journal.

Professor McIlgorm said he first met with China’s marine information issue during a UOW based Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) project, ‘Valuing Marine Economies in the APEC Region’.

Professor McIllgorm said that, although it took his team some time to make the right contacts, they were able to discover China’s marine economy data and a mature data system.

In late 2011 Professor McIlgorm was invited to Chair a Blue Economy Forum during Xiamen’s ‘Ocean Week’. After meeting with Ms Song and Dr He, senior staff in the National Marine Date and Information Service in 2011, discussions led to collaboration on the paper, which has been recognised by a Marine Policy reviewer for meeting a significant gap in the field’s international literature.

The paper describes how, since 1990, marine economic statistics in China have developed and improved gradually through three distinct phases. Development went from dispersed data sets to more concentrated data gathering processes, improving data from partial to comprehensive statistics and achieving more organised institutional management arrangements for the data. During the 20 year development period, marine economic statistics have improved in the methodologies used, the scope of the data collected, the techniques applied and the frequency of reporting. This has led to today’s data system with data available in a series of Chinese and English Marine Statistical Year Books.

Professor McIlgorm explained that the marine economy is an economically connected system among various ocean-related sectors and industries, including not only the activities of marine industries themselves, but also those economic activities closely related to marine industries.

“The 2011 study estimated that China’s marine economy was 9.7% of China’s total GDP. This was well in excess of the 1-3% of GDP range seen in western industrial economies such as the United States, Canada and Australia. The number of Chinese people employed by the ocean-related sectors reached 34.2 million in 2011, making it one of the world’s largest marine economies,” Professor McIlgorm said.

‘From behind the Great Wall: The development of statistics on the marine economy in China, Marine Policy’ - Song W.S., G.S. He and A. McIlgorm (2013) will be published in Marine Policy, Volume 39, May 2013, Pages 120-127. To view a preview of the paper click here.

Last reviewed: 10 January, 2013

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