The State Development Bank (SDB) last Friday granted a five-year interest-free loan of 1 million yuan (about US$120,000) to north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for its first natural gas piping project.
Ji Zhongshi, director of the SDB Hohhot Branch, said though the figure is not big, it is SDB's first loan of this kind nationwide.
It is the usual practice for the development banks, like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, to support a large project with short-term interest-free financial aid, thus ensuring the project's high quality in its' first phase.
Part of the natural gas piping project is to lay 497 kilometers of pipe to supply natural gas to Hohhot, Baotou and Dongsheng for industrial and daily use.
Li Wu, who is in charge of the project, said it is expected to improve the cities' energy structure and air quality by making use of natural gas in the region.