City cluster integration to boost region's development
The Taiyuan section of Taiyuan-Xinzhou Avenue is scheduled to open on Sept 30. [Photo by Li Zhaomin for China Daily]
With workers now busy laying asphalt on the 37-kilometer Taiyuan-Xinzhou Avenue, construction of the major passageway to link the two key cities of Taiyuan and Xinzhou in central Shanxi is expected to be completed in a couple of days.
The completion of the project will signify a milestone for the ongoing Taiyuan-Xinzhou integration program, which aims to build a city cluster in the center of Shanxi and foster a new engine for local growth, according to local officials.
The urban integration program of the two cities was decided in 2021 by the Shanxi authorities.
The decision was made in response to the central government's proposal. In March 2021, the State Council released a guideline for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), requiring Shanxi to foster a city cluster in its central region.
Grasping this historic opportunity, the Shanxi provincial government proposed a plan to promote the development of Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone in the months that followed.
The Promotional Center for the Development of the Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone was founded on Dec 29, marking the operation of the zone began officially. Its two operational centers in Taiyuan and Xinzhou were established on Dec 29 and 30 respectively.
According to Wang Xiangzheng, deputy chief of the Taiyuan operational center, construction of the Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone is well underway with the launch of a great number of infrastructure projects.
"Construction of the Taiyuan-Xinzhou Avenue is expected to be completed before Aug 20," Wang said. "And it is scheduled to be open to traffic on Sept 30."
In addition to the avenue, three bullet trains have been added to the rail transit system between the two cities. "There are a total of 12 bullet trains running on round trips every day between the two cities, which offer greater convenience to intercity travelers," Wang said.
Businesses from around the province and the rest of the county have settled in the integrated zone.
On July 15, the administrative services bureaus in Taiyuan and Xinzhou issued the first business licenses to two companies newly established in the zone.
Zhicheng Incubation Space is one of the companies obtaining the license.
"We are happy to be one of the first to get the license," said Zhang Hui, general manager of the company. "The location of the Taiyuan-Xinzhou Integrated Economic Zone better positions us to serve clients in both cities."
The investment promotion agencies in the zone have held fruitful talks with businesses throughout the country who intend to found 89 projects in the zone, with a total investment of 96.52 billion yuan ($14.3 billion). Agreements for 84 projects have been signed, with a total investment of 64.63 billion yuan.
The integrated economic zone will comprise a number of economic zones and industrial parks in the two cities, including the Zhongbei High-Tech Zone and Yangqu Industrial Park in Taiyuan, and the Xinzhou Economic Zone and Yuanping Economic and Technological Development Zone in Xinzhou.
The Taiyuan-Xinzhou integrated zone is also designed to host industries relocated from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, where an integrated regional development plan is in place.
Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.