Xinjiang aims for financial hub on economic belt

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Authorities will try to make northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region the financial hub for the Silk Road economic belt by speeding up infrastructure construction.

Guo Hongchuan, deputy director with Xinjiang's regional office of finance, said the local government supports the building of a financial network in the region, with Urumqi, the regional capital, as the pivot.

"We plan to speed up infrastructure construction of the financial districts in Urumqi to boost economic growth," Guo told Xinhua Saturday at an ongoing seminar in Urumqi, where experts convened to discuss improving financial services in Xinjiang.

The scheme will help strengthen Xinjiang's economic influence in Central Asia, he said.

The economic belt, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Central Asia in September 2013, eyes the cultural revival of the Silk Road, which historically links China with Central Asia and Europe, as a way of developing political and economic ties.

The project involves more than 40 Asian and European countries with a combined population of 3 billion.

Xinjiang is home to China's western-most section of the Eurasian Land Bridge, a transcontinental rail route connecting east Asia and west Europe.

It connects Pakistan, Mongolia, Russia, India and four other central Asian countries with a borderline extending 5,600 km, giving it easy access to markets in the Eurasian heartland. Urumqi was once a stop on the old Silk Road.

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