Buildings in the Lanzhou New Area. (Photo/Xinhua)
A economic region dubbed the "new western delta" has attracted considerable public attention, highlighting the ongoing deployment of the central government's economic strategy in Lanzhou, the capital of the western province of Gansu. Lanzhou will be a partner to the newly-badged region, the China Business Times reports.
China's State Council, or cabinet, approved the Lanzhou New Area on Aug. 20 making it the fifth national-level "new economic zone" to be established in the country.
The government has set up four strategic targets for the new economic zone. "It will be developed as an important growth zone in northwest China, an important national-level industrial base, a strategic platform for opening up China's west and as a demonstration zone for industrial re-allocation," stated Liu Weiping, governor of Gansu Province.
The Lanzhou New Area will become the first national-level new area in western China, following similar initiatives in the Pudong New Area in Shanghai, Binhai in Tianjin, Liangjiang in Chongqing and Zhejiang province's Zhoushan Islands. The new zone will become a partner in China's new western delta economic circle, together with the municipality of Chongqing and the Shaanxi capital of Xi'an, the report said.
The central government approved the establishment of an economic zone in central Guizhou on Sept. 17, adding a new partner to the new western delta economic circle.
According to the plan, the Central Guizhou Economic Zone will be developed into an important energy resource processing base for the country, a light-industry base and an industrial base for manufacturing equipment and emerging strategic industries in western China.
Additionally, Central Guizhou will also be developed as a national-level cultural tourism innovation zone and a regional trade and logistics center.
Economic planners expect the region's GDP to exceed 600 billion yuan (US$94.75 billion) by the end of 2015 and local fiscal revenue is estimated to surpass 45 billion yuan (US$7.10 billion).
Niu Zhengchao, program leader at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who first proposed the new western delta project said once the economic circle was formed, its total economic activity would be on par with those of the Pearl and Yangtze River deltas.
Niu added that Lanzhou would be a good example of how to reorganize an industrial structure which relies on a heavy chemical industry with associated high pollution, high energy consumption and low added value. Lanzhou is frequently cited as the most polluted city in China.
Additionally, Lanzhou's transportation networks infrastructure make it an obvious choice for being reclassification as a national-level economic zone, Niu said.
The new area also has the geographic advantage of being located at the crossroads of the country's northwestern region.