Yangtze River Delta In­te­gra­tion: Break­ing Bar­ri­ers for Con­nec­tiv­ity

Break­ing Bar­ri­ers for Con­nec­tiv­ity

China Pictorial (English) - - Front Page - Text by Chen Jian­jun

In­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta aims not only to cre­ate a world- class in­dus­trial clus­ter with global com­pet­i­tive­ness but also to ex­plore a new path for trans­form­ing gov­er­nance modes while ad­vanc­ing ur­ban­iza­tion char­ac­ter­ized by co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment of small, medium and large cities.

he Yangtze River Delta on China’s east coast, ra­di­at­ing from the al­lu­vial plain near the es­tu­ary of the Yangtze River, is a re­gion of key eco­nomic im­por­tance in­volv­ing Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and Jiangsu, Zhe­jiang and An­hui prov­inces.

In­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta refers to a strate­gic plan to break ad­min­is­tra­tive bar­ri­ers im­ped­ing prod­uct and com­mod­ity flows be­tween dif­fer­ent cities and prov­inces in the re­gion, form a uni­fied mar­ket, pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion and ex­change, and achieve in­fra­struc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity, uni­fied gov­er­nance and shared ben­e­fits. The ul­ti­mate aim is to shift the Chi­nese econ­omy from high-speed growth to high- qual­ity de­vel­op­ment.

Con­nec­tiv­ity Strat­egy

The Yangtze River Delta re­gion has a com­bined pop­u­la­tion of 220 mil­lion, ac­count­ing for one-sev­enth of China’s to­tal, and its GDP reaches US$3.5 tril­lion, about one-fourth of the na­tion’s to­tal. In 2017, per capita GDP of the 16 cities in the core area of the Yangtze River Delta hit US$11,000. The re­gion is home to 26 cities in­clud­ing Shang­hai, Hangzhou, Nan­jing, He­fei, Suzhou, Wuxi and Ningbo, which com­prise one of the world’s largest city clus­ters and China’s lead­ing eco­nomic cen­ter in terms of over­all strength. It is also con­sid­ered the most open and dy­namic eco­nomic re­gion in China.

To­day, the Chi­nese econ­omy has en­tered a “new nor­mal” pe­riod. The in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion China faces is un­der­go­ing dras­tic changes, and the do­mes­tic econ­omy has reached a cru­cial stage of re­struc­tur­ing and up­grad­ing. To achieve higher-level re­form and open­ing up, op­ti­mize eco­nomic struc­ture and align with de­vel­op­ment strate­gies such as the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the Co­or­di­nated De­vel­op­ment of Bei­jing, Tian­jin and He­bei, the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt and the Guang­dong-hong Kong-macao Greater Bay Area, China needs to ac­cel­er­ate its ad­vance­ment of in­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta with an eye on op­ti­miz­ing the re­gion’s role in lead­ing na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

In­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta rep­re­sents a pi­o­neer­ing step in im­ple­ment­ing a strat­egy of in­no­va­tive, co­or­di­nated, green, open and shared de­vel­op­ment with the pur­pose of con­tin­u­ously pro­mot­ing open­ing up at a higher start­ing point through ad­vanc­ing the re­form of an eco­nomic sys­tem fea­tur­ing mar­ket- ori­ented re­source al­lo­ca­tion. Based on in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment schemes, the re­gion is ex­pected to cre­ate a world- class in­dus­trial clus­ter with global com­pet­i­tive­ness, ex­plore the path for ur­ban­iza­tion char­ac­ter­ized by co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment of small, medium and large cities, and build an in­ter­na­tional me­trop­o­lis clus­ter of global in­flu­ence. The im­por­tance of in­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta is break­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive bar­ri­ers, pro­mot­ing re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and blaz­ing a new path for trans­form­ing gov­er­nance modes.

In­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta is also a sig­nif­i­cant move by the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy based on its na­tional con­di­tions to help its peo­ple lead bet­ter lives. It shares sim­i­lar­i­ties with the eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion of Europe af­ter World War II in terms of break­ing down bar­ri­ers and build­ing a uni­fied mar­ket. Of course, the two cases also have dif­fer­ences. In­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta is a process of sys­tem and de­vel­op­ment in­te­gra­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent re­gions within a sov­er­eign

coun­try, im­ple­mented un­der the uni­fied lead­er­ship of the cen­tral govern­ment. In con­trast with the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal in­te­gra­tion of pol­i­tics, econ­omy, cur­rency, trade and for­eign re­la­tions of Eu­ro­pean coun­tries un­der the ban­ner of the Eu­ro­pean Union, in­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta places greater em­pha­sis on re­mov­ing in­sti­tu­tional and mech­a­nism bar­ri­ers im­ped­ing China’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and re­form and open­ing up, pro­mot­ing free flow of var­i­ous fac­tors and op­ti­miz­ing in­dus­trial lay­out to en­hance the ef­fi­ciency of so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. With the rapid ur­ban­iza­tion of China, the Yangtze River Delta has be­come an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant bea­con of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

All-round De­vel­op­ment

Over the years, the in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of the Yangtze River Delta has pro­vided im­por­tant ex­pe­ri­ence and set a good ex­am­ple for China to de­velop a so­cial­ist mar­ket econ­omy with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. A fore­run­ner in the coun­try’s re­form and open­ing up, the Yangtze River Delta re­gion boasts a higher mar­ke­ti­za­tion level, thriv­ing pri­vate en­ter­prises and plen­ti­ful en­trepreneurs. Based on such ad­van­tages, the re­gion is work­ing to pro­mote in­dus­trial trans- rans­fer and tran­sre­gional de­vel­op­ment ent of en­ter­prises through mar­ket- ori­ented re­forms, grad­u­ally re­move e ad­min­is­tra­tive bar­ri­ers to en­able e free, or­derly flow of var­i­ous fac­tors, tors, and ad­vance co­or­di­nated de­velop- op­ment of dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

In­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta has ad­vanced smoothly in n re­cent years. Re­gional co­op­er­a­tion ion mech­a­nisms such as the Mayor/ / Gov­er­nors’ Sem­i­nar, the Meet­ing ng of Vice Ex­ec­u­tive Gov­er­nors, the he Re­gional Part­ner­ship of Provin­cial cial De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sions and the Fo­rum for or the Co­or­di­na­tion of Ur­ban Econ­omy my of the Yangtze River Delta Re­gion n are al­ready tak­ing shape. Doc­u­ments ts such as the De­vel­op­ment plan ofof the yangtze river delta re­gion, n, the De­vel­op­ment plan for the Yangtze river delta city clus­ter, er, and the Three-year ac­tion plan forn for the in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of the the Yangtze river delta were pro mul-gated and en­acted, pro­vid­ing

solid in­sti­tu­tional guar­an­tee for the in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of the re­gion.

Within the city clus­ter in the Yangtze River Delta re­gion, Shang­hai plays a lead role, other ma­jor cities like Hangzhou, Nan­jing, He­fei, Suzhou, Ningbo and Wuxi pro­vide key sup­port with their ad­vanced de­vel­op­ment, and medium and small cities such as Yiwu in Zhe­jiang Province and Kun­shan, Taicang and Zhangji­a­gang in Jiangsu Province con­trib­ute with their re­spec­tive in­dus­trial strengths.

In re­cent years, Shang­hai has re­mained com­mit­ted to be­com­ing a global tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion cen­ter. In sup­port of Shang­hai’s goal, Jiangsu Province an­nounced plans to build a global in­dus­trial in­no­va­tion cen­ter and Zhe­jiang Province set the goal of cre­at­ing a “dig­i­tal greater bay area.” An in­no­va­tion sys­tem is tak­ing shape in the Yangtze River Delta re­gion. More­over, green de­vel­op­ment has be­come con­sen­sus in the area, with fo­cus on re­mov­ing re­gional bar­ri­ers and mak­ing joint ef­forts to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment in the process of pro­mot­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Break­ing Bot­tle­necks

The Yangtze River Delta re­gion is still work­ing hard to re­al­ize the goal of high- qual­ity in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment. Now that in­te­gra­tion of the re­gion has been el­e­vated to a na­tional strat­egy, the Yangtze River Delta should seize the op­por­tu­nity to break bot­tle­necks hin­der­ing its in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment.

First, the re­gion needs to im­prove co­or­di­nated gov­er­nance and en­hance in­te­gra­tion ef­fi­ciency. Presently, most mech­a­nisms for in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of the Yangtze River Delta re­main a closed loop from “de­ci­sion-mak­ing to im­ple­men­ta­tion” by rel­e­vant gov­ern­ments. To en­hance the ef­fi­ciency of its co­or­di­nated gov­er­nance, the re­gion needs to fur­ther merge gov­ern­men­tal ef­forts with mar­ket- ori­ented re­source al­lo­ca­tion sys­tems and en­cour­age en­ter­prises to ad­vance re­gional in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment by op­ti­miz­ing in­dus­trial chain lay­out. Also, mea­sures need to be taken to strengthen rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion.

Sec­ond, the re­gion needs to quicken the shift from mar­ket in­te­gra­tion to so­cial pol­icy in­te­gra­tion and from ba­sic pub­lic ser­vices in­te­gra­tion to liveli­hood ser­vices in­te­gra­tion. Al­though the Yangtze River Delta re­gion, es­pe­cially Shang­hai, Jiangsu and Zhe­jiang, has ba­si­cally re­al­ized equal­iza­tion in terms of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and per capita in­come, dif­fer­ent cities still sharply con­trast each other in terms of liv­ing stan­dards, tech­nol­ogy, ed­u­ca­tion, cul­tural and health­care fa­cil­i­ties and ur­ban in­fra­struc­ture. The pro­mo­tion of con­nec­tiv­ity, joint man­age­ment and shar­ing of so­cial de­vel­op­ment re­sources be­tween dif­fer­ent cities in the re­gion is sorely needed.

Fi­nally, the re­gion needs to ad­dress ho­mog­e­nized de­vel­op­ment and ex­ces­sive com­pe­ti­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent ar­eas, cities and de­vel­op­ment zones. The in­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta should pri­or­i­tize in­sti­tu­tional and mech­a­nism in­no­va­tion and build a rule-based, con­trol­lable co­op­er­a­tion and com­pe­ti­tion sys­tem. Co­op­er­a­tion aims to achieve more stan­dard­ized and ef­fi­cient com­pe­ti­tion, and com­pe­ti­tion will fur­ther en­hance co­op­er­a­tion.

A panoramic view of the Shang­haiNan­tong Yangtze River Bridge un­der con­struc­tion. With a to­tal length of 11,072 me­ters, the bridge fea­tures a 1,092-me­ter main span and is the world's first high­way and rail­way ca­ble-stayed bridge with a main span ex­ceed­ing 1,000 me­ters. When com­pleted, it will ef­fec­tively bol­ster in­te­gra­tion of the Yangtze River Delta re­gion. VCG

Au­gust 27, 2018: A he­li­copter trans­ports a pa­tient with an acute cere­bral hem­or­rhage from Taix­ing Peo­ple's Hospi­tal in Jiangsu Province to Shang­hai, where he is then driven by am­bu­lance to Rui­jin Hospi­tal for fur­ther treat­ment. Xin­hua

Septem­ber 21, 2014: Staffers from Nan­jing Cus­toms test the in­te­grated cus­toms clear­ance sys­tem at the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt In­te­grated Cus­toms Clear­ance Emer­gency Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­ter in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. The fol­low­ing day, the re­form on in­te­grated cus­toms clear­ance of the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt was for­mally launched. Xin­hua

Novem­ber 7, 2018: The booth of the “In­ter­net+ Chi­nese Civ­i­liza­tion” ac­tion plan pro­vides vis­i­tors with an im­mer­sive tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture ex­pe­ri­ence us­ing tech­nolo­gies such as im­age lay­er­ing and vir­tual re­al­ity at the fifth World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence in Wuzhen, Zhe­jiang Province. The Yangtze River Delta re­gion has reached con­sen­sus to pro­mote tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion. VCG

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