CHEUNGDU, China, May 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — On April 28, the official website of Sichuan Provincial Government released the Reply and Approval from Sichuan Provincial People’s Government for the Founding of the Eastern Chengdu New Area. According to the document, the Chengdu Eastern New Area will become a "new platform for the formation of the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle".
Chengdu and Chongqing are two neighboring megacities located in western China, and citizens of the two cities share similar customs and dining habits. In January this year, the term "Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle" was coined, which the Chinese government intends to position as "important growth pole for high-quality development".
As one of the two core cities of the "Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle", Chengdu’s expansion in recent years has garnered widespread attention across the globe. In October 2019, according to a ranking compiled by the Milken Institute, a think tank in the United States, which ranked 262 Chinese cities based on nine development indices, Chengdu even surpassed Shenzhen to top the list of Best-performing Chinese Cities.
"Data from the Best-performing Chinese Cities ranking sufficiently indicate that scientific and technological innovation is the cornerstone for the transformation of Chinese cities in the future." Huang Huayue, General Manager of the Research Department of the Milken Institute Asia Center and co-author of the report, pointed out that "Chengdu is building a hi-tech and modern industrial sphere with sound international reputation and increasing its economic clout in the development of China’s western region, both of which fit the level of influence typical of a core city in a megalopolis."
In order to stimulate industrial impetus and potential, incubate and cultivate local technological and innovative enterprises, and attract more technological and innovative firms to set up presence in the city, Chengdu created a "Unicorn Island" in Tianfu New Area in the south of the city, which also happens to be the world’s first industrial complex primarily engaged in the incubation and cultivation of unicorn companies. At present, the main structure of the complex Exhibition and Convention Center will soon finish construction, while the whole project is anticipated to come to fruition by 2022.
Other than the "Unicorn Island," the "Business and Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation" is also rising fast into the limelight as the premier destination of choice in western China among technological and innovative companies around the globe. Currently, more than 50 world-famous organizations and corporations such as AWS Joint Innovation Center, Greater China HQ of Norwegian company Opera, French internet-of-things enterprise Sigfox and the Global Asia-Pacific HQ of U.K. firm Vertu.
On January 16 this year, the Chengdu-Israel Science and Technology Innovation Center was formally launched at the Business and Innovation Centre for China-Europe Cooperation. Dedicated to services such as international finance, international commerce for the hi-tech industry and international scientific and technological research outcome transformation for the biomedicine industry, the Center aims to meet the needs among Chengdu’s local technological and innovative projects to bolster global communication.
The gathering and growth of enterprises bring along busier population and cargo traffic between cities and as the national central city closest to Europe, Chengdu’s status as an international hub is also becoming increasingly apparent.
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is the Chinese mainland’s number four aviation hub, where 127 international (regional) routes provide access to five continents. The Tianfu International Airport now under construction is expected to put into operation in 2021, which will position Chengdu as the third city in the Chinese mainland behind Beijing and Shanghai to possess two of its own international airports.
At the same time, Chengdu is also China’s railway freight shipping center for access to Europe. The number of departure of the China-Europe Railway Express from Chengdu has maintained its top spot in the country for three straight years. Even under the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, in January and February this year Chengdu’s China-Europe Railway Express still recorded 267 departures, actually equating to a stunning 88% jump compared with the same period last year.
The city’s crucial hub position is just as profound domestically. At present, the 280km-long Chengdu-Chongqing Hi-speed Railway Central Line, a third hi-speed rail between Chengdu and Chongqing, is being built, and upon completion the time required to travel between the two cities will drop from 90 minutes today to merely 50 minutes. This is yet another important measure beneficial to the formation of the "Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle" and the integration of the Chengdu-Chongqing City Cluster.
Chengdu is using a "new area" to create the eastern gateway advantageous to the formation of the dual-city economic circle. Perhaps the "Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle" is going to become China’s next Yangtze River Delta Megalopolis and the key driver that propels sustained and robust growth of the Chinese economy in the next several decades, and meanwhile Chengdu is the main engine that will provide the core driving force.