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Package of policies give city the chance to boost its presence in Guangdong province
Zhanjiang, a coastal city in South China's Guangdong province, is to steer local development into the fast lane with the provincial government launching a package of policies to make it a subcentral city of the province.
On March 29, the Guangdong provincial government issued a guideline to support Zhanjiang in accelerating its development as a provincial subcentral city. It will build itself into a key engine to drive the growth of the coastal economic belt of Guangdong.
The policies are regarded by the Zhanjiang authorities as a "big gift package". They address local concerns over growth in transport, industrial development, urban layout and trade with the Hainan Free Trade Port.
Zhanjiang's development goals by 2025 are defined in the guideline, pointing out that significant progress should be made in the subcentral city program, economic growth, urban development and transport network expansion.
Moreover, the guideline requires Zhanjiang to make special efforts to involve itself in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, cooperate with the Hainan Free Trade Port and collaborate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Zhanjiang, a coastal city in the southwest of Guangdong, is now positioning itself as a subcentral city in the province and a key engine to drive the growth of the coastal economic belt of Guangdong. LANG SHUCHEN/FOR CHINA DAILY
The guideline also proposes long-term goals for Zhanjiang. By 2035, the provincial subcentral city will basically have taken shape; its economic competitiveness will be ranked among the top in Guangdong; its role as a national-level comprehensive transportation hub should be strengthened; and its involvement in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will be significantly improved.
The guideline also signals that more provincial economic and social management authority will be delegated to Zhanjiang, including greater autonomy in managing all kinds of institutional and market resources.
The provincial government has pledged to gradually increase financial support for Zhanjiang, supporting its major industrial projects, major development platforms and infrastructure construction.
The guideline clearly defines the development objectives of Zhanjiang in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and further into 2035, said Zheng Renhao, secretary of the Zhanjiang committee of the Communist Party of China, at a conference held on April 2.
"It proposed 25 supporting policies in five aspects. The ambitious planning and unprecedented support have brought hope to Zhanjiang's rise," Zheng said.
"We should have a deep understanding of the great significance brought by the guideline, firmly carry forward the task of building Zhanjiang into a subcentral city and accelerate the process of developing a key growth driver for the modern coastal economic belt of Guangdong," Zheng added.
Ning Ling, vice-president of Guangdong Ocean University based in Zhanjiang, said in order to build Zhanjiang into a provincial subcentral city, it should meet relevant standards in the four aspects of economy and trade, transportation, science and education and logistics and tourism.
He said the priority in developing a subcentral city should first fall on the economy and trade and promote the upgrading of local industries.
Second, transportation－which used to be a bottleneck in Zhanjiang's development－should be improved.
The third point is that Zhanjiang has a good foundation for science and education. It is supported by a number of colleges and universities, as well as research institutions. There are also provincial laboratories in the city. Together these institutions can be given full play to create technologies and foster professionals.
The fourth is logistics and tourism development, which can be realized on the basis of the local industry and transport development. Zhanjiang's future business connections with Hainan Free Trade Zone will benefit the development of local logistics and tourism, Ning said.