Vol. 26: Painting Boards Go Well In Qingtao

We arrived at Qingtao late in the evening, and our first impression on gazing out from the hotel window next morning onto the streets and the beach was one of surprise that such a place actually existed in China. The German-style buildings, the azure sea, and the dry and pure air: it seemed like a different world from the hustle and the bustle of Beijing.

Qingtao is well-known in Japan especially for the beer which bears its name, but few tourists visit the area as yet. The town itself is surprisingly large. The streets lined with acacias blend with the brick-colored tiles and the church spires to create a romantic impression

Even the advertisements have a European feel about them. Large painted boards which serve also as temporary surrounds for construction sites are in particular evidence. These too blend surprisingly well with the scenery, and there is no sense of incongruousness. This being a resort area which provides relief to city-dwellers from the summer heat, there are plenty of advertisements for villas, but one also sees advertisements for golf practice courses. Golf courses and socialism might appear to be rather at odds, but maybe this is just a reflection of Chinafs current openness.

The other face of Qingtao is that of a zone for the promotion of industry. The area is superbly located as regards climate and geographical conditions, and the municipal authorities are doing everything they can at present to attract companies to set up factories in the area. The large number of painting boards is an indication of the importance being placed on urban development projects. The hope that a neon factory will be built at Qingtao reflects the desire of the municipal authorities to achieve development. Japanese companies are increasingly making inroads into the area.

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