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Cabinet approves new zones

Updated: 2014-01-11 02:29
By Zheng Yangpeng ( China Daily)

China's cabinet on Friday approved the establishment of new zones in Northwest China's Shaanxi and Guizhou provinces in the southwest, the latest move to open up inland regions.

Shaanxi's Xi'an-Xianyang New Area and Guizhou's Guiyang-Anshun New Area got the nod from the State Council, adding to a string of "new areas".

Some previous new areas are the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area (approved in 2010) and the Lanzhou New Area (2012). But while the Chongqing and Lanzhou areas were designated as State-level development areas, along with four other such areas, the two latest areas approved didn't achieve that top position.

The Xi'an-Xianyang New Area, with a planned area of 882 square kilometers, is designed to be a hub that will help open up China's west — an example of urbanization with Chinese characteristics, according to the State Council's statement.

The Guiyang-Anshun New Area, with a planned area of 1,795 sq km, is designed to be a growth hub in western China and a model of environmental development.

"The latest move suggests that the central government wants the ‘urban cluster' to be a major form of the ‘new style urbanization', " said Yi Peng, director of the Urbanization Research Center under the International Finance Forum, a non-governmental organization that conducts research and holds events regarding the financial sector.

In terms of core industries, the Xi'an-Xianyang New Area focuses on information services, modern logistics and culture. Shaanxi has implemented 10 policies to support the new district's development, including cheaper electricity for information service companies.

The Guiyang-Anshun New Area emphasizes advanced manufacturing and services, as well as leisure and tourism, Qin Rupei, Party secretary of the new area, told China Daily previously.

Anticipating great potential in these new areas, domestic and overseas investors quietly established a presence in these zones even before the State Council approvals.

The world's largest electronics contractor, Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, started work in October on a "fourth-generation" plant in the Guiyang-Anshun New Area. The first phase, covering 260 hectares, is expected to be completed by July.

Terry Gou, chairman of the company, said that Guizhou previously lagged behind because of constraints on information and transportation. As information and transportation networks develop, its potential will be unlocked, he said.

Vantone Real Estate Co Ltd, a major developer in China, will spend 30 billion yuan ($4.96 billion) in the next seven years to develop "the great city", a micro-sized city that will integrate health care, education and agriculture, with 80,000 residents.

Hao Jiebin, chief executive of Beijing Vantone Citylogic Investment Corp, told China Daily that Xi'an is the starting point of the "silk road economic belt" proposed by President Xi Jinping, which inspired the company to get involved with the project.

"We were attracted by the city government's advanced development idea, which is industry-focused, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. That is exactly what we appreciate," he said.