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Yangtze River delta gains momentum in regional integration

(Xinhua)    15:42, June 05, 2020

SHANGHAI, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Jiang Wei, a business owner in Shanghai, will soon be able to travel to his plant 150 km away in Huzhou in less than half an hour thanks to the building of a new high-speed railway.

Jiang said at present, the journey from Shanghai to Huzhou of the neighboring Zhejiang Province takes him about two hours as the railway first heads south before heading north to Huzhou.

Construction on a new high-speed railway linking Shanghai and the neighboring cities of Suzhou and Huzhou was launched on Friday. The 164-km railway, with a designed top speed of 350 km per hour, is a key project for the Yangtze River Delta to further boost regional integration.

Transportation interconnection is just one example of the coordinated development of the region, which consists of Shanghai Municipality and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. As one of China's most economically active, open and innovative regions, the Yangtze River delta region produces about one-fourth of the national GDP.

China unveiled an outline for the regional integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta last year. Local governments have rolled out a raft of measures to enhance cooperation and communication in the region.

Thanks to increasingly efficient resource allocation and collaboration, the Yangtze River Delta shows robust market vitality, offering the world a glimpse of the resilience and potential of the Chinese economy.

FORGING AHEAD WITH CONSTRUCTION

Huzhou Mingshuo Optoelectronic Technology Co., Ltd, founded by Jiang, is a participant and beneficiary of the Yangtze River delta regional integration.

The company has established a research and development (R&D) center in Shanghai, and also cooperated with firms in Anhui to carry out R&D on lithium battery energy storage.

"After the Shanghai-Suzhou-Huzhou high-speed railway breaks ground, the physical and psychological distance between Huzhou, Shanghai and Suzhou will be further reduced," said Jiang.

In 2020, more than 10 railway projects in the Yangtze River Delta have been planned to be open or start construction. The entire region's annual railway investment is planned to exceed 80 billion yuan (about 11 billion U.S. dollars), accounting for nearly one-sixth of the national total.

As China highlighted the importance of new infrastructure, local governments in the delta region have successively released new infrastructure plans to boost the construction of 5G networks, cloud computing and data centers.

Shanghai published a three-year action plan from 2020 to 2022, aiming to invest a total of around 270 billion yuan in its first batch of 48 major new infrastructure projects in the next three years. Jiangsu also introduced relevant measures to invest 12 billion yuan in 2020 to build 52,000 new 5G base stations. Zhejiang will begin construction on 20 large data centers this year.

The region also emphasizes the importance of green and sustainable development. In 2019, a demonstration area in the Yangtze River Delta on ecologically friendly development was launched, spanning across Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGIES

The Yangtze River Delta is a booming land of scientific and technological innovation, thanks to the establishment of research institutes and the industrialization of technological achievements.

In the western suburb of Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Quantum Information and Quantum Physics is under construction. The project is expected to be delivered by the end of 2020.

Shanghai's Zhangjiang has had 14 projects of national key science and technology infrastructure completed or under construction, said Peng Song, an official with the office for promoting the construction of science and technology innovation center in Shanghai.

These facilities will open to researchers at home and abroad, said Peng.

"Over the past year, it is easy to observe the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta with faster and more efficient movement of regional factors and more scientific allocation of resources," said Pan Zhaohui, Party chief of Wuhu City, Anhui.

OPENNESS

As the COVID-19 pandemic posts an unprecedented challenge to the global economy, the recession-defying growth of the delta region has been a highlight.

The balance of local and foreign currency loans in the Yangtze River Delta region was 40.7 trillion yuan at the end of April, up 14.3 percent year on year, higher than the national average, according to the latest figures released by the People's Bank of China's Shanghai Head Office.

Statistics show that foreign capital in the delta region has achieved steady growth since the beginning of this year. In the first quarter, the actual use of foreign capital in Shanghai was 4.67 billion U.S. dollars, up 4.5 percent year on year. From January to April, Zhejiang's actual use of foreign capital was 4.96 billion dollars, up 8.9 percent year on year.

"The integration of the Yangtze River Delta is not only a matter of regional development, but also a strategic choice that is related to the overall situation of the Chinese economy," said Liu Zhibiao, director of the Yangtze Industrial Economic Institute of Nanjing University.

The integration of the Yangtze River Delta will help form a new globalization model based on the big domestic market, and promote China's economic transformation and high-quality development, he added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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