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NDRC to enhance Central China, with leading role of urban agglomeration
2015-10-22 14:55

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It is learnt by journalist of Economic Information Daily that National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is studying and formulating a document, Plan on Enhancing the Rising of Central China (2016-2025), with the draft basically finished. It connects previously issued Development Planning for Cities in Middle Yangtze River Zone and Planning Guideline on Yangtze River Economic Zone to be issued soon, focusing on promoting the internal and external openness of inland areas and highlighting the leading role of cities in middle Yangtze River Zone for Central China.

For a long run, various regions in Central China gain different development directions, with inattentive mutual-cooperation. Provinces rarely propose the concept of rising Central China in recent years, paying more attention to the connections between local developments and national strategies. For example, Anhui Province mainly considers integration with development of the Yangtze River Delta, but Shanxi Province considers how to enter in development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region.

As one of the three major strategies, “Yangtze River Economic Zone” is crucial to connect these regions. Zhang Jun, vice director of Development Research Center of the State Council, indicated that integrative development of basin economy will be enhanced through further intensified construction for golden waterway transportation, and policy coordination, planning connection, law enforcement as well as cooperation in industrial development and ecological protection along upstream and downstream of the Yangtze River, so as to better boost the harmonious development of eastern, middle and western regions of China.

NDRC printed and issued Development Planning for Cities in Middle Yangtze River Zone in April. Fang Chuanglin, director of Institute Of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, believed that as the first urban agglomeration planning crossing administrative regions issued by China, it aims to build up cities in middle Yangtze River Zone as a national urban agglomeration to boost the rising of Central China, which will focus on construction for mainline of Wuhan-Changsha, Wuhan-Nanchang and supplementary line of Changsha-Nanchang to establish a comprehensive transportation hub and a base of technological innovation, advanced manufacturing and modern service industry to lead the core growth zone for rising Central China.

Niu Bokun, macro strategy research director of Hua Chuang Securities Co., Ltd., believed that under the strategic urbanization arrangement, land bridge and Yangtze River galleries are two horizontal lines, and coastal line, Harbin- Beijing-Guangzhou, Baotou-Kunming galleries as three vertical lines; central and western regions will greatly absorb peasant-workers from eastern and surrounding regions whose hometowns are located in or nearby central or western regions to speed up the development of industrial cluster. As key points of such strategic arrangement, Zhengzhou City and Wuhan City obviously benefit from hierarchical transformation of industries, with increasingly-obvious radial efficiency to the provincial or surrounding economy.

Besides, the new plan will also stress promoting opening-up of inland areas to the domestic and overseas market, which is closely related to the urgent requirement of the six central provinces to activate their economies through reform and innovation under the current situation, and also is a key link in china’s design of a new overall opening-up landscape. Take Hunan Province for example, as an inland province in the central region, it has been facing an “embarrassing” location of neither being at the east nor at the west, with its major economic indicators, including gross regional production, fiscal revenue, urban and rural household income, all below the national average. Journalists learnt that in the recent two years, Hunan Province defined for itself the strategic position of “One Belt and One Zone”, namely the transitional belt from the eastern coastal areas to the central and western areas as well as the junction zone of the Yangtze River Open Economic Belt and the Coastal Open Economic Belt, hoping to make breakthroughs in economic development difficulties through restructuring its strategic position.

Relevant official from Hunan development and reform commission said that in the past, Hunan Province carried out plans based on Rise of Central China Plan, and tended to make comparisons with the other five provinces in the central region. But now, Hunan Province is exploring its development path from the nationwide perspective, focusing on finding an appropriate position when the nation is deepening the implementation of opening economic strategy.

However, Hunan Province is never an exception. The other five provinces in the central region all have actively sought opportunities to carry out pilot programs in opening to domestic and overseas market, including making preparations to comply with national strategy, actively applying for the establishment of free trade zone in inland areas as well as mapping out relevant projects. The State Council issued Several Opinions on Establishing New Open Economic System in Sept., which clearly proposed to improve new inland opening mechanism.  “(We should) grasp the opportunities in global industrial relocation, actively exploring new ways to accept industry transfer in inland major cities and metropolitan areas through capitalizing the platform of development zones and industry cluster districts”, “support inland cities to open more international passenger and cargo airlines, develop various combined transportation, including river and ocean combined transportation, railroad and waterway as well as land and air combined transportation, building an outbound economic corridor across the east, central and west and joining the north and south ”.

Translated by Adam Zhang and Jelly Yi

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