The City of London is willing to share its knowledge and expertise with China in building a smart, green Xiongan New Area -- a planned extra-large metropolis in north China, City of London Lord Mayor Charles Bowman has said recently in a joint interview here.
Bowman, leading a business delegation to Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, recently visited Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone in what is now part of north China's Hebei Province which is some 100 km southwest of Beijing.
The dialogue with local officials of Hebei Province was "productive," he said, adding that the City of London has significant strength and expertise in smart city development, particularly in designing, researching and financing of engineering services which could be helpful to Xiongan. It is the packing up and delivery of this integrated group of services where Britain "has the real potential to add value," he noted.
Canary Wharf Group, the developer behind London's new financial center east of the City of London, signed a memorandum of understanding in January with Xiongan New Area during Prime Minister Theresa May's state visit to China, according to Bowman.
The City of London's expertise and knowledge in the development of green and smart cities, together with China's infrastructure capabilities and talents, will make the Xiongan project a successful model for cooperation, Bowman said, adding that the new area will also serve as an innovative green finance role model to other Chinese cities as well as to those along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21 Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road).
A year has passed since the Chinese government announced the establishment of Xiongan New Area on April 1, 2017. It is the third new area of national significance after the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area.
The Chinese government has said that the area welcomes foreign investment that meets its functional requirements. Experts believe that capital and expertise from foreign investors are needed in Xiongan to meet its goal of becoming a low-carbon, intelligent, livable and globally influential city where people and nature co-exist in harmony.
The Xiongan project is also the first pilot project of a newly-launched UK-China Green Finance Center, Bowman said. The center is created by the City of London's Green Finance Initiative following commitments in the 8th and 9th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogues.
It aims to create innovative green finance products and facilitate smart city development globally with its long-term partner -- China Green Finance Committee, and will consider incubating green-tech and fin-tech companies in the future.
The launch of this center was "another hugely exciting step" to make green finance more mainstream and the start of a new era of strategic cooperation between the two sides, said the lord mayor.
Calling Britain and China "global leaders" in green finance, Bowman said the two partners have been making significant contributions to tackling global challenges such as carbon reduction and climate change. They also demonstrated their strong commitment to sustainable development and transition to an environment-friendly growth model, he added.