Shanghai urged to lead Delta growth
In order to develop the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region into an economic belt, experts say that key cities in the region, including Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou, first need to establish a more closeknit network.
Experts believe that Shanghai, as the biggest and most important city in the region, should leverage its reputation and influence to boost cooperation with its neighbors to remove physical and fiscal boundaries standing in the way of this goal.
Zhu Ronglin, a Yangtze River Delta region development expert from the Development Research Center of State Council, said that a tight network can also help these cities effectively utilize resources in areas such as transportation, communication, industries and management.
“Shanghai should focus more on the high-end and creative sectors, while the surrounding areas should develop their own specialized industries,” wrote Xiao Lin, directorgeneral of the Development Research Center of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, in an article published on Shanghai Securities News.
Chen Zhao, a professor from Fudan University, who specialized in regional economic studies, also weighed in on the situation, saying that a sorting process is in order and that “various cities will form their own cultural and industrial characteristics” as a result.
The Yangtze River Delta is expected to become China’s first successful megacity region like Tokyo, New York and Paris, all of which have built a greater city belt surrounding them to attract a large number of multinational corporations, headquarters of international banks, large research and development institutes with a diversified and rich talent pool.
The region takes up 1.1 percent of the nation’s total land area, holds over 11 percent of China’s population, and contributes to about 20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Through years of development, the Yangtze River Delta region has established a preliminary transportation network of roads, railways, airways. Shanghai’s Hongqiao transportation hub is a good example of how the city has successfully established a vital traffic nexus for air, high-speed rail, subway and bus travel.
A report by the Shanghai Morning Post showed that the high-speed railway launched in 2010 between Shanghai and Nanjing has shortened the traveling time between the two cities from five hours to 90 minutes, while a trip from Shanghai to Hangzhou requires just an hour.
“As the leader of the region, Shanghai needs consistent industrial structure optimization. In addition, policy makers should promote further infrastructure development by building more railways, high-speed roads and airports to reduce time between Shanghai and cities across the region, ” added Xiao.