China Daily

Plan gives Shanghai’s Hongqiao a big boost

- By XING YI in Shanghai

A plan to build Shanghai’s Hongqiao area and neighborin­g locations into an internatio­nal hub was published by the central government on Wednesday, aiming to further promote the integratio­n and openingup of the Yangtze River Delta.

The plan, submitted by the National Developmen­t and Reform Commission, was approved by the State Council and issued to the government­s of Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui.

The planned Hongqiao internatio­nal hub will include the 151-squarekilo­meter Hongqiao Central Business District located in the west of Shanghai and two extended strips — one going northward to Suzhou, Jiangsu province, and the other going southward to Haining, Zhejiang province.

The Hongqiao area, which already has one of the country’s busiest internatio­nal airports and high-speed railway stations, will serve as a center while the northern and southern extensions will facilitate internatio­nal business and trade cooperatio­n with regional industries.

According to the plan, the area will be fully constructe­d by 2035 and become an important platform that raises the country’s level of openingup and internatio­nal competitiv­eness.

Xu Jian, vice-dean of the China Institute for Urban Governance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said, “When talking about opening-up, people usually think about Pudong New Area because it has attracted a lot foreign investment and talent in the past, but it was more of a oneway flow.

“With its proximity to neighborin­g cities in the Yangtze River Delta, Hongqiao will further promote Chinese companies going global. It will be a connector for domestic and internatio­nal trade and business.”

Xu said Shanghai’s industrial upgrade has created many opportunit­ies for neighborin­g cities, and the new plan will form a greater metropolit­an city cluster around Shanghai that will further the delta’s integratio­n with the world economy.

The plan outlines the direction of a slew of favorable policies in areas such as facilitati­ng foreign entreprene­urship, internatio­nal trade and finance, and accelerati­ng the constructi­on and upgrading of regional railway networks and internatio­nal transporta­tion infrastruc­ture.

It said the transport capacity of current stations, such as Suzhou North and Jiaxing South railway stations, will be upgraded, and many intercity rail lines and highways will be built to create a twohour transporta­tion circle between the Hongqiao Central Business District and major neighborin­g cities.

Wang Huajie, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Developmen­t and Reform Commission, said the current Hongqiao transporta­tion hub, which brings together high-speed rail, an airport and local metro lines, handles 400 million passengers a year.

“A more convenient transporta­tion network will further integrate industries in the Yangtze River Delta, and strengthen the area as a domestic and internatio­nal logistics center,” he said.

The plan said the government will promote the exhibition industry in the region, make full use of the China Internatio­nal Import Expo as a global resource-allocation and goods-distributi­on platform, and support companies in the area to open free-trade accounts with crossborde­r finance services.

The plan also encourages multinatio­nal companies to set up headquarte­rs in the area by offering assistance to foreign talent in terms of acquiring visas, sending children to schools and visiting hospitals.

Chen Weili, deputy director of the Hongqiao Central Business District, said it is home to more than 70,000 companies, with 380 having set up global or regional headquarte­rs there.

“We aim to attract 3,000 companies with industrial influence to the core area in the future,” Chen said. “And we will build more customsbon­ded warehouses and exhibition centers to further enhance the spillover effect of the China Internatio­nal Import Expo.”

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