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Speeding up urbanization

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

08:32, March 14, 2013

Construction of large projects in Zhanjiang will not only help drive the local economy but also speed up the urbanization process, the city's mayor said.

Wang Zhongbing, mayor of Zhanjiang, said urbanization will better coordinate urban and rural development and push up local economic and social development.

"With construction of projects in the years ahead, especially large iron and steel and petrochemical ones, a large number of rural residents will move to urban areas to look for better jobs and living conditions," Wang said.

"But it is not simply to build more houses to attract rural residents to move to urban areas. We will attach more importance to reinforcing urbanization and the building of a new countryside."

After Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Zhanjiang has the largest population in Guangdong province, with about 8 million people. But its current urbanization rate is below 40 percent, which is lower than the average national level.

"We will promote equal public services in counties, townships and villages to push up urbanization. This will be a major task during the urbanization process," Wang told China Daily.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in the government work report during the annual session of the National People's Congress that small- and medium-sized cities and small towns should improve their ability to develop industries, provide public services, create jobs and attract residents.

"Unlike big cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, small- and medium-sized cities such as Zhanjiang should give priority to promoting equal public services between rural and urban areas," Wang said during the annual NPC session.

Zhanjiang will enhance public transportation, logistics, education, culture, health care, IT and broadcasting and communication services to rural areas, Wang said.

The city will invest some 88.2 billion yuan ($14.2 billion) in the next three to five years to build a high-speed rail, expressway and highway network between its rural and urban areas, sources with the local government said.

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