New industry city via PPP model drives urbanization of small towns

By Guo Yiming | | April 9, 2018
An aerial view of Gu'an New Industry City built and operated by China Fortune Land Development (CFLD) [Photo courtesy of CFLD]

For most real estate developers, they build and then leave. But for a rare few, they are there to stay, operate and sustain the city's urbanization.

That is the business model of China Fortune Land Development Co.Ltd (CFLD), the country's industrial zone developer and operator. It has championed the public-private partnership (PPP) model in building new industry cities at small towns around big metropolises and encouraging investment to make their development more sustainable.

CFLD is also responsible for attracting businesses and investment to its new towns and industrial parks as the key plank of the  strategy, said Zhang Shufeng, the company's executive president.

Compared to large and medium-sized cities, small towns in China are faced with an imbalance in economic development due to shortages in capital, technology and skills, which renders them less attractive in terms of resources and talents for innovation.

The key for economic transformation for those towns is to break away from a resource and investment-driven growth model and toward one that is driven by capital and innovation, Zhang told at the sidelines of the ongoing 2018 Boao Forum for Asia. He proposes a high quality regional development to attract talents and to upgrade competitiveness.

To help less developed areas tap into their potential for development and make their development sustainable, CFLD has explored a package of solutions that would amount to win-win cooperation with local government. Through the PPP model, CFLD builds and manages new industrial cities from the ground up and provides all aspects of public and private services, including roads, hospitals and schools, as well as hotels, factories and shopping centers.

In the case of the Gu'an New Industry City, CFLD's award-winning flagship program, the company assumed responsibility for city planning and design, infrastructure and public facility development, administration of city operations, and industry investment solicitation. It now stands as a model for the kinds of new type urbanization and is slated to scale up to other regions.

According to the report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China will create networks of cities and towns based on city clusters, enabling the coordinated development of cities of different sizes and small towns, and to speed up work on granting permanent urban residency to people who move from rural to urban areas, which, as experts say, will provide new opportunities for county-level economic development.

CFLD witnesses the development of China's industrial parks, said Zhang. "New cities that are driven by innovation, industrial clusters and green development have proved to be the effective practice to boost transformation and high-quality sustainable development of county-level cities."

Today, the Gu'an model has been widely replicated. New Industry Cities built by CFLD have been established across 13 provinces in China and extended to six other countries.