Clus­ters help boost bal­anced growth

Five plans for this year in­clude south and north­west

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XIN ZHIMING and REN XIAOJIN Con­tact the writ­ers at xinzhim­ing@chi­

The Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion said on Tues­day that by the year’s end, it will fin­ish com­pil­ing a plan on the devel­op­ment of five in­ter­re­gional city clus­ters, which an­a­lysts said will boost re­gional economies and con­trib­ute to China’s bal­anced devel­op­ment.

They in­clude the Guang­dong-Hong Kong-Ma­cao Greater Bay Area and the Western Tai­wan Straits Eco­nomic Zone, which cov­ers Fu­jian prov­ince and some neigh­bor­ing ar­eas.

They also in­clude the Guanzhong Plain ur­ban clus­ter, in­clud­ing ma­jor cities in Shaanxi prov­ince; the Lanzhou-Xin­ing clus­ter in Gansu and Qing­hai prov­inces; and the Ho­hhot-Bao­tou-Er­dos-Yulin clus­ter in the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­tonomous re­gion and Shaanxi prov­ince, the NDRC said on its web­site.

“The plan will help those re­gions achieve a more healthy, green and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment,” said Shen Chi, deputy di­rec­tor of the NDRC’s China Cen­ter for Ur­ban Devel­op­ment.

China will con­tinue to com­pile such plans to boost re­gional devel­op­ment, Shen said, and could fin­ish plans for a to­tal of 19 city clus­ters by 2020. Last year, China com­piled a devel­op­ment plan for six city clus­ters, with eight to be done in the com­ing two years.

Those clus­ters al­ready have rel­a­tively ma­ture economies, and by com­pil­ing such a plan, Shen said, pol­i­cy­mak­ers can bet­ter co­or­di­nate their de­velop- ment. “The plan has been com­piled on the ba­sis of cater­ing to the re­spec­tive devel­op­ment po­ten­tials, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and eco­nomic con­di­tions of those re­gions,” he said.

Guang­dong prov­ince, for ex­am­ple, has an ad­van­tage in man­u­fac­tur­ing while Hong Kong has strength in ed­u­ca­tion and cor­po­rate re­search and devel­op­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties; their co­or­di­na­tion can ac­cel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of the whole Greater Bay Area, said Zheng Xinli, vice-chair­man of the China Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ex­changes.

While pro­vid­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing bases and a vast mar­ket, the Western Tai­wan Straits Eco­nomic Zone can ben­e­fit from Tai­wan’s strength in high-tech in­dus­tries, such as elec­tron­ics, said Zheng. “The two sides can co­op­er­ate to be­come a leader in the global elec­tron­ics mar­ket.”

Zheng said the three city clus­ters in the north­west­ern and north­ern re­gions can help stim­u­late the less de­vel­oped lo­cal economies and con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s bal­anced eco­nomic growth. “They will pro­mote the lo­cal job mar­ket, help build new in­dus­tries, and re­duce poverty.”

Zheng sug­gested that in devel­op­ing those re­gions, the power of the mar­ket should be fully used, and the govern­ment can pro­vide pol­icy sup­port to en­sure the mar­ket plays a de­ci­sive role in resource distri­bu­tion.

“The govern­ment can sort out projects with good chances of re­turns in those re­gions to in­vite so­cial in­vestors, in­clud­ing for­eign in­vestors,” he said.

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