Aerial photo taken on March 31, 2017 shows Baiyangdian, north China's largest freshwater wetland, in Anxin County, north China's Hebei Province. China announced Saturday it would establish the Xiongan New Area in Hebei Province, as part of measures to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region. The New Area, about 100 km southwest of downtown Beijing, will span three counties that sit at the center of the triangular area formed by Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei's provincial capital Shijiazhuang. (Xinhua/Yang Shiyao)
International experts and media reports say China's new economic zone will help relieve the burdens of Beijing as a metropolis, promote regional coordinated development and create a new growth pole for China, setting an example for developing economies.
China announced Saturday it would establish the Xiongan New Area in north China's Hebei Province, as part of measures to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region.
EASING BEIJING'S URBAN BURDENS
Bambang Suryono, an Indonesian scholar and president of the Jakarta-based Nanyang ASEAN Foundation, said Beijing, a megapolis with a capital history of more than 800 years, is facing "urban ills" such as traffic jams as other big cities are.
Setting up the Xiongan New Area to build a creative and livable city will help ease Beijing's urban burdens, Suryono said.
The establishment of the Xiongan New Area is "the latest step in China's efforts to cure severe 'urban ills,' such as traffic congestion and air pollution in Beijing by curbing the capital's population growth and moving certain non-essential facilities, including manufacturing and logistics, to nearby regions," a report from Press Trust of India said.
Authorities intend to transform the region into a new growth pole, it said.
Ronnie Lins, CEO of Center China Brazil: Research & Business, said that to avoid over-development of mega cities is a common issue facing all developing countries.
The Chinese government is actively exploring new development models for big cities, diversifying their functions and easing their burdens, which will solve the environmental issue, promote the development of surrounding areas and provide references for other developing countries, Lins said.
FURTHERING REGIONAL COORDINATED DEVELOPMENT
Zhu Zhiqun, a political science professor with Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, the United States, said the establishment of the Xiongan New Area is an important measure that will greatly influence China's future development.
Zhu said he believed Xiongan will make the integrated development of the BTH region come true and promote the rapid and comprehensive development of north China.
China's current development should focus on quality, Zhu said, adding that Xiongan aims to see green, creative, high-quality and high-end development, which will become a role model for other regions in the country.
Huang Bin, a researcher at Thailand's Kasikorn Research Center, said setting up the Xiongan New Area is an important and strategic plan of the Chinese leadership.
The new economic zone, as well as Beijing and the port city of Tianjin, with their diversified and complementary functions, forms a "triangle" that will open a new space for the development of the BTH region and north China and will explore a completely new model for China's urban development, Huang said.
NEW ENGINES FOR DEVELOPMENT
The Xiongan New Area, along with other new economic areas, special economic zones and free trade zones in China, "will greatly contribute to the balanced development of the economy," a report from South Korea's Asia Today said on its website.
The report said they will also create "the necessary power" to promote the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.
Suryono said establishing the Xiongan New Area forms an important part of China's strategy to further its reform and deal with the problems that have emerged during the rapid development of the Chinese economy.
It is an important and innovative measure that accords with China's national conditions, he said.
The establishment of the new economic zone implies a new growth pole for the Chinese economy, said Guo Shengxiang, dean of the Australian think tank of Academy of APEC Creative Finance, adding that it means China is deepening its opening up and will comprehensively embrace globalization and free trade.