Open Governance
Tianfu New Area: “New Engine” for Western Economic Growth

  “Tianfu New Area” has become economic hot word in Sichuan in the cold winter. Looking back the progress of reform and opening up, Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, Pudong New Area, and Binhai New Area have served as “engines” in different time points and have helped to quicken the establishment of fully opened-up pattern in costal area. Looking into the future, as important development strategy of Sichuan, Tianfu New Area is expected to be a major window for western inland China to expand opening up scale and to become the most powerful and dynamic pole of economic growth in Sichuan and even in western China.  

  Enhance Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone “dual-core” engine

  In May 2011, the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone Planning approved by the State Council clearly put forward the idea to “construct Tianfu New Area”. In August, Sichuan held Implementing Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone Planning & Tianfu New Area Construction Mobilizing Meeting, in which it was proposed that the construction of Tianfu New Area should waste no time in order to enhance Chengdu’s role as one core of the “dual-core” engine. In October, the overall planning of Tianfu New Area was examined and approved. In December, the construction of Tianfu New Area was officially launched.

  Tianfu New Area includes High-tech District, Longquanyi District, Shuangliu County, and Xinjin County of Chengdu; Pengshan County and Renshou County of Meishan; and Jianyang of Ziyang City. That is, 3 cities, 7 counties (cities and districts), and 37 towns. The planning area is 1,578 square kilometers. The construction of Tianfu New Area is an important development strategy of Sichuan provincial Party committee and Sichuan provincial government to implement Central Committee’s decision of a new round western development and to practice the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone Planning.

  Li Houqiang, secretary of Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences Party committee, describes Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone as “one basin” contains 5 zones, that is, Sichuan basin, one Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone, two national urban-rural comprehensive coordinated reform test areas in Chengdu and Chongqing, and two new areas: Liangjiang New Area and Tianfu New Area.

  Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone is regarded as the “fourth pole” to drive China’s economic growth, following Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area. Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone, located in deep inland, differs from other three poles in that it also shoulders the responsibility to be inland bridgehead. Urban-rural reform and opening up measures in inland China should be tested first here before putting into practice. 

  At the launching ceremony of Tianfu New Area, secretary of Sichuan provincial Party committee Liu Qibao said that the implementation of this important move will surely exert Chengdu’s core competitiveness and driving force as central city in western China and expand development space for Chengdu and neighboring areas. Sichuan’s superior status in western China will be highlighted as well. This has significant and far-reaching meaning for enhancing Chengdu’s role as one core of Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone “dual-core” engine and for Sichuan to quicken the building of western economic growth highland.

  Tianfu New Area: what are the new points?

  “The overall planning of Tianfu New Area pays special attention to three aspects,” said Sichuan governor Jiang Jufeng. Firstly, Tianfu New Area, as core of future western economic growth highland, how to manifest its “industrial Chengdu” objective in its function design? Secondly, what kind of space planning can satisfy the objective to build a “three-in-one (modern industry, modern life, and modern city)” international modern city that is suitable for developing industry, running business, and living? Thirdly, how to explore the form of forward-looking modern new city? That is, how to solve three major problems of traditional cities: traffic jam, water logging, and pollution; how to structure supporting and service functions for modern industrial system; and how to explore an urban ecosystem where men are in harmony with nature.

  What are the new points of Tianfu New Area? New industrial support — Tianfu New Area will be built into western R & D manufacturing center which is dynamic support for burgeoning industries. Strategic burgeoning industries such as new generation IT, high-end equipment manufacturing, space flight and aviation, energy saving and environmental protection, bioindustry and so on are priorities for development. At the same time, great efforts will be spent to develop modern productive service industries such as finance, logistics and so on.

  New urban-rural form — Tianfu New Area will construct a harmonious group-type pastoral urban-rural form according to the concept of urban-rural balanced development. New development pattern — Tianfu New Area will become new engine for western development and opening up and for transformation of economic growth pattern. It will also drive industrial upgrading to shape a development pattern with greater space.

  The construction of “new areas” before usually focuses on the promotion of industrialization which results in poor living facilities and loss of some residential functions. In fact, without full urban functions, it is hard to promote industrialization to deeper level. Therefore, Tianfu New Area will try to blend industry, living and city perfectly to be suitable for industry and business as well as for living. 

  Tianfu New Area actively explores the “combined” urban structure and is the first to propose the idea of “all-in-one city unit” in China. In order to avoid urban diseases such as traffic jam, pendulum pedestrian flow and so on, Tianfu New Area maps out 35 “all-in-one city units”. Each unit covers 20 to 30 square kilometers with a population of 200,000 to 300,000. The unit has five features: job-housing balance, mixed functions, perfect supporting facilities, green transport, and layout fusion. In principle, 60% of employed population in a unit lives in the very unit. The main means of transportation within a unit are normal buses, bicycles and walking.

  The most powerful and dynamic economic growth pole in western China

  Tianfu New Area, as the newest platform for Sichuan to undertake domestic and foreign industrial transfer, is now showing its effect. “To invest western China is a major part of Philips’ ‘mainland market’ strategic blueprint.” In Dec. 2011, when world-noted company Philips settled its LED project in Chengdu, Patrick Kung, executive vice-president of Philips, said that this investment marked the first substantial step of Philips to carry out its western strategy. 

  At the same time, Amit Midha, Dell’s president of Greater China region, said in Chengdu, “Dell pays great attention to plan western China market. Dell has founded global operation base in Chengdu and will cover more western cites in future.”

  In the end of 2011, the first batch projects in Tianfu New Area with over 200-bln yuan investment were started. Volvo Chengdu Manufacturing Base, FAW-Volkswagen core supporting project, Chengdu Rail Transit Material Park, Chengdu biomedicine R & D and industrialization project, Chengdu satellite e-communication material project, Chengdu southwest new material industry base project, Internet of Things high-end manufacturing base…. Those projects fully reflect internationalized, modernized and high-end characteristics. Some infrastructure projects are planned and constructed in line with international and regional center functions. The development needs of future 10 years and even further future are taken into account as well. Many projects are strategic burgeoning industries that enjoy national key support.

  From the aspect of development orientation, Tianfu New Area shoulders unusual mission, that is, focusing on modern manufacturing industry and gathering high-end service industry to build international modern new urban area that is suitable for developing industry, running business and living and to realize coordinated growth of modern industries, modern life and modern city so as to become the most powerful and dynamic economic growth pole in Sichuan and even in western China.

  Huang Xinchu, secretary of Chengdu municipal Party committee, said that Tianfu New Area will change the thousand-year-long “single-center” city pattern in Chengdu Plain and construct the “double-center” networked city system. Chengdu will seize this great opportunity and compete to be “pioneer” in the construction of Tianfu New Area. “We will spare no efforts to build Tianfu New Area into a thousand-year city that can bear Sichuan people’s vision for long-term development.”

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