1. The development outline
The Outline of the Yangtze River Economic Belt Development Plan, published in March 2016 upon the approval of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, determined a “one axis, two wings, three poles and multiple points” development pattern for the region, with focus on ecological and green development.
As a national programmatic document, the outline mapped out the blueprint for the zone’s development, which included planning background, overall requirements, protection of the Yangtze River ecological environment, construction of a comprehensive three-dimensional traffic system, innovation-driven transformation of industries, promotion of new urbanization, opening up in an all-round way, system and mechanism innovation of regional coordinated development, and supporting measures.
2. Basic file
It covers 11 provincial-level regions, including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Chongqing, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou;
It occupies 2.05 million square kilometers, taking up 21 percent of the country’s total;
The population and economic aggregates both occupy over 40 percent of the country’s total;
The region features key ecological status, strong comprehensive strength and great development potential.
3. Development pattern
“One axis” implies that the governments shall take advantage of the Yangtze River waterway, exert the key influence of Shanghai, Wuhan and Chongqing, build a green development axis along the river and boost economic growth.
“Two wings” stands for the Shanghai-Ruili Highway and the Shanghai-Chengdu Highway, which are the basis for the development of the Yangtze River zone. The convenient transport networks are expected to facilitate the population growth and industrial clustering in key cities along the river.
“Three poles” refers to three city groups – Yangtze River Delta, the middle reaches of the Yangtze and the Chengdu-Chongqing city cluster, which are positioned as three growth poles for the Yangtze River zone.
“Multiple points” suggests the supporting roles of cities other than the three city groups along the river. Their enhanced economic ties and interaction with the central cities will accelerate regional economic development.
Meanwhile, the outline has clarified multiple key works, including protection and restoration of the Yangtze River ecological environment, construction of a comprehensive three-dimensional traffic corridor and innovation-driven transformation of industries, new urbanization and opening-up in an all-round way.
4. Development tasks
Pushing forward the construction of an integrated market system
a. Setting up a unified system for entry into the market
The governments shall further streamline administration and decentralize power, remove local policies and regulations hindering the rational flow of production factors, eradicate market barriers, launch unified systems and standards for entry into the market, promote the trans-regional flow and optimal allocation of labor, capital and technology resources.Furthermore, it is essential to set up fair, open and transparent market rules and pilot a negative list management system in Shanghai and Chongqing. Market monitoring and cooperation must be enhanced, together with construction of transregional market access and a mutual recognition system of quality and qualification, as well as an efficient system for regional standardized coordination.
b. Speeding up co-construction and sharing of infrastructure
The governments will push forward the overall planning and construction of infrastructure, enhancing communication among provinces and cities, making design plans and technical standards, bettering the construction order, breaking up monopolies, reducing regional fragmentation, eliminating gaps in the transport service standards of different regions, building a unified and open transport market.
The government will urged the speeding up of reform of logistics systems, promote river-sea, railway-waterway, highway-waterway combined transport, develop through transport and regulate fees and charges.
c. Optimizing the investment and financing system
Enhancing innovation-driven industrial transformation and upgrading
a. Improving capability for independent innovation, involving
Building demonstration areas for innovation;
Strengthening basic innovation platforms;
Attracting more talents;
Enhancing companies’ capabilities in technology innovation;
Creating an ecological system of innovation and entrepreneurship.
b. Boosting industrial transformation, involving
Propelling the integration and upgrading of traditional industries;
Building industrial clusters;
Pushing forward agriculture modernization;
Promoting the service industry;
Developing a modern culture industry.
c. Forming core competitive power, involving
Fostering and strengthening strategic emerging industries;
Accelerating the construction of new-generation information infrastructures;
Advancing the integrated development of information and industry.
d. Guiding the orderly transfer of industries, including
Mapping out priorities for industrial transfer;
Building platforms for industrial transfer;
Innovating industrial transfer modes.
Promoting new urbanization
a. Optimizing the spatial pattern of urbanization
A coordinated, well-constructed, efficient and low-carbon new urbanization pattern is expected to be established along the Yangtze River based on the major city clusters in the area.
The government will strive for coordinated regional development, promote the leading role of megacities including Shanghai, Wuhan and Chongqing, and such super-cities as Nanjing, Hangzhou and Chengdu, exert the driving influence on local growth of provincial capitals such as Hefei, Nanchang, Changsha, Guiyang and Kunming, and step up the development of medium and small cities and characteristic towns.
In addition, efforts shall be put into improving urban transport by strengthening the construction of intercity and city railways, improving the regional transport network to suit the new urbanization plan, enabling one-to-two-hour travel distances among central cities or between a central city and neighboring cities, speeding up the development of public transport such as urban rail transit and bus rapid transit to encourage green travel.
b. Promoting the transfer of the agricultural population into urban residents, with efforts including expanding the channels for rural residents to settle in cities and innovating the urbanization mode of rural people;
c. Advancing construction of new cities;
d. Balancing urban and rural development.
Building a new opening-up pattern that features east-west and sea-land coordinated development
a. Strengthening the leading role of Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region;
b. Transforming Yunan into a hub that influences South Asia and Southeast Asia;
c. Prospering open inland economies.
Governments shall propel regional cooperation and industrial clustering, build west Chongqing into a key support for opening-up, transform Chengdu, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanchang and Hebei into highlands for open inland economies, optimize the layout of ports on the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River, support the major stops on international cargo railways and key inland ports to set up checking stations for cargo entry-exit procedures, and encourage inland airports to increase international passenger and cargo routes as well as flights.
5. City clusters along the economic belt
The Yangtze River Delta city cluster, which has 26 cities and a population of about 152 million, is at the convergence zone of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Yangtze Economic Belt, and boasts abundant resources and a sound urban system. The Yangtze River city cluster is the most developed, competitive and urbanized city cluster in China. It is also one of the six major world-class city clusters.
The city cluster in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River comprises 31 cities with a population of about 129 million. It is a megacity cluster centered on the Wuhan city cluster, the city clusters surrounding the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan city cluster and the Poyang Lake. The Yangtze River middle reaches city cluster has excellent transport infrastructure, strong economic power and further urbanization potential, which are the key reasons for its rise as an economic zone.
The Chengdu-Chongqing city cluster includes 27 districts in Chongqing and 15 in Sichuan province, and has a population of about 94 million. The city cluster enjoys geographical advantages and relatively developed economy, which is important for the western region's development and strategic support of the Yangtze Economic Belt. The challenges this region faces include increasing its low internal impetus, strengthening its weak innovation capacity and improving its infrastructure connectivity.
Source: Sichuan Daily & China Daily