Hubei will submit a plan for a new experimental zone that is designed to build a "resource-saving and environmentally friendly society" to the central government at the end of the month, a top official said this week.
worker looks up at the ceiling of the Wuchang railway station, while still under construction last year. The 600-million-yuan (US$85 million) investment is part of Wuhan's plan to revive its status as the "transport hub of nine provinces" and step onto the central stage of China's growth with a new nine-city cluster. File photo
"We will try to explore a way, different from the past patterns of development, for new models of urbanization and industrialization, through our internal reforms and innovation," Miao Wei, a member of the Party's Hubei Standing Committee and Party secretary of the provincial capital of Wuhan, said earlier in the week.
In December, the central government approved Wuhan and eight smaller cities in the province - Xianning, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Tianmen, Huangshi, Huanggang, Ezhou and Xiaogan - to establish the experimental zone.
Between them, the cities account for 60 percent of the province's gross domestic product and encompass about one-third of its geographical area.
"The central government will not offer preferential policies. But affording us this status is the biggest form of support for us. We should aim for breakthroughs, instead of rigidly adhering to existing systems," Miao said.
He said Wuhan will strive to take the lead in the rise of the country's central region.
The local government's main suggestions for the development of key sectors in the experimental zone are:
Establishing a regional financial center and capital market systems, by attracting financial institutions to set up their regional headquarters in Wuhan; setting up a regional commercial bank, named Hankou Bank, on the basis of the existing Wuhan Commercial Bank; integrating assets of rural credit cooperatives in the nine cities to form a Wuhan Rural Commercial Bank; and supporting private investors to run small- and medium-sized shareholding banks.
Improving administrative systems and public services to propel development of the hi-tech industry, by establishing systems that will boost the industrialization of scientific and technological innovations; launching funds for growth enterprises; and boosting pilot insurance programs for science and technology enterprises.
Perfecting policies and market access to save energy and protect the environment, by setting up specific funds for energy conservation, emission-reduction and environmental protection programs.
Exploring systems for the rational allocation of public resources and joint construction of public facilities, by weaving a highly efficient inter-city public communication network, including railways, waterways, highways and air traffic.
Establishing a platform to allow people to share public services to promote balanced development of different cities, by setting up a public service system integrating the needs of both urban and rural areas with a focus on employment, social security, education and health; and deepening fundraising mechanisms to enable government input to lead other kinds of investment into rural infrastructure construction.
(China Daily March 14, 2008)