No ambitious megacity plan in S. China province

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Guangdong provincial authorities denied on Friday that they plan to merge nine cities in the Pearl River Delta region into a super-sized metropolis.

Guo Yuewen, spokesman for the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, made the remarks on Friday in response to recent overseas media reports that an ambitious urbanization project had been launched by the Guangdong government to merge nine cities in the delta region.

"The reports were totally false. There is no such plan," Guo said at a news conference.

Overseas media, including Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, reported recently that the Guangdong government had planned the nearly 2-trillion-yuan ($303 billion) project to merge the Pearl River Delta cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen and the rural areas between them.

The reports also said the merged megalopolis will cover 40,000 square kilometers and have a population of 42 million.

"I can only say that Guangdong province is improving integration of infrastructure, industries, urban-rural planning, environmental protection and basic public services in the delta region," Guo said.

The integration was in line with the Outline of Planning of the Pearl River Delta Region Reform and Development (2008-2020), passed by the central government in December 2008, according to Guo.

Under the outline, three economic circles - Guangfozhao (Guangzhou, Foshan and Zhaoqing), Shenguanhui (Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou) and Zhuzhongjiang (Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Jiangmen) - will be developed in the near future.

"The outline is aimed at increasing economic and social development in the delta area," Guo said. "It was also designed to boost competitiveness in economic development in the delta region."

Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, surpassed Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore in GDP to reach 4 trillion yuan in 2010, according to provincial government sources.

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