A photo taken by a drone shows a construction site of the railway connecting Beijing and Xiongan New Area, Hebei province, on March 20. [Photo/Xinhua]
Companies upbeat on 2-year-old new area as goals in place for development
Xiongan New Area, which was first announced two years ago, has been attracting increasing attention from foreign companies given its huge development potential.
Located about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing, Xiongan is aiming to become a significant part of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, and plans to take over Beijing's noncapital functions and provide a Chinese solution to "big city malaise", including overcrowding, pollution and traffic congestion.
On April 1, 2017, China announced plans to establish Xiongan New Area, which an official statement called "a strategy that will have lasting importance for the millennium to come, and a significant national event".
Massimo Bagnasco, vice-president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said that there are many opportunities for foreign companies to benefit from Xiongan.
"As the new area will be built to the highest standards, there will be significant demand for top-quality goods and services," he told China Daily.
Noting that many European companies are renowned for their innovation and reliability, Bagnasco said that "there should be plenty of business to be done" in Xiongan. In June, Mats Harborn, chamber president, paid a visit to Xiongan and was received by Chen Gang, vice-governor of Hebei province and director of Xiongan's management committee.
Chen said he hopes the chamber will take an active role in such areas as green development, intelligent technologies and innovation in Xiongan, an official news release from the new area said.
"The EU Chamber of Commerce in China has been building relationships in Xiongan for some time now, and the meeting in June was just one part of that," Bagnasco said, adding that the meeting was a good opportunity to further develop relationships and deal with more concrete matters, such as specific investment mechanisms.
Kamal Dhuper, China regional manager at Indian talent development and training company NIIT, visited Xiongan in September and was received by Chen.
Chen said Xiongan welcomes NIIT to take its advantages in technology and training to enhance cooperation in the building of a digital city and the IT industry, according to a news release.
While attending the top legislature's annual session in March, Chen told reporters that Xiongan will soon begin large-scale substantial construction as overall design plans for the area have been completed.
More than 200 teams and 1,000 experts from China and abroad have participated in the drafting of the plans, Chen said.
Jiang Hao, a Shanghai-based partner at global consultancy Roland Berger, said his company is "very interested" in participating in Xiongan's development.
As a leading company in regional development planning, Roland Berger has contributed to China's economic development for more than three decades and would like to bring those experiences to Xiongan's development, Jiang said.
"As Xiongan New Area is a national strategy and therefore receives attention and support from the highest levels, its development must demonstrate very high standards and utilize innovations and deep reforms in various areas," he said.
Jiang added that Xiongan has attracted the attention of President Xi Jinping from the very beginning of its conception.
On Feb 23, 2017, Xi visited Hebei during the planning process of Xiongan.
"Xiongan New Area will be a legacy for our future generations. Following the principle of global vision, international standards, Chinese characteristics and high goals, we should aim to build a demonstration area that practices new concepts for development," Xi said at the meeting on the planning and development of Xiongan.
According to the official plan, Xiongan will be developed into a high-level modern socialist city and a front-runner of high-quality development by 2035, and become an important nexus in the world-class city cluster by the middle of this century.
In January, Xi visited the exhibition center for the planning of Xiongan and stressed again that the creation of the new area is "a strategy that will have lasting importance for the millennium to come".
"We welcome all companies, whether they are State-owned enterprises or private companies, local firms or companies from Beijing, Chinese enterprises or overseas-funded companies, as long as they conform to the industrial development plan of the new area," Xi said during the inspection tour.