Master Plan for Economic Circle Unveiled
Combined region in southwest to be turned into business, innovation hub
The newly unveiled, master plan for the coordinated development of the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle is expected to make China's growth more balanced when coping with downward economic pressure, experts and officials said.
The plan will also help China's southwestern region tap into potential talent, improve the business environment and grow new business models, they said.
The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council issued on Wednesday the master plan to build the Chengdu-Chongqing region into an economic center with national impact, a key hub for scientific and technological innovation, a new area for reform and opening-up and a place with high-quality living standards.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, said the plan is of great importance as it covers a wide range of sectors with specific improvement and development targets and a focus on bettering the business climate. He said the master plan will serve as an important guide for the future development of the region.
"An all-around improvement in the business climate is a key part of the plan, and the region has had a stronger advantage in this regard in the recent years of its growth," Zhou said.
"The two city clusters' competition has become increasingly apparent in recent years, while both clusters have clear potential for high-quality development," he said, adding the plan is critical for energizing and balancing growth in China's western region.
By 2025, the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle will witness significant increases in economic strength and international influence. About 66 percent of its permanent residents will live in urban areas, the plan said. By 2035, the circle will become an active engine for economic growth with international influence. Steps to achieve the goals were mapped out in the plan, such as building a destination for global consumers and better integrated urban-rural development.
Zhang Zhisheng, an official from the Liangjiang New Area in Chongqing, said the mission to build modern industries was made clear in the plan for the two cities.
"Going forward, we will work better to build cooperation platforms for enterprises, particularly those in automobile manufacturing, electronics, the digital economy and the exhibition industry," Zhang said, adding that red tape will be cut to aid cooperation and integration of businesses.
Fang Liang, deputy manager of Chongqing Guoyuan Container Terminal Co, said the guideline provides "a critical opportunity to build our business into a modern port" and will "better leverage our role as a national logistics hub".
Covering about 185,000 square kilometers, the combined region had GDP of nearly 6.3 trillion yuan ($984.7 billion) in 2019, accounting for 6.3 percent of national GDP. Its combined population of 96 million accounted for 6.9 percent of the national total.
Liu Baokui, a researcher at the Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy at the National Development and Reform Commission, said that while the Chengdu-Chongqing region has demonstrated good progress in energizing growth, there are still gaps when compared with the country's coastal regions. The new guideline is expected to tap the region's potential in attracting high-end talent and growing new business models, Liu added.