Governor reveals plans for future on 20th anniversary of new area
SHANGHAI - With Walt Disney's famed cartoon figure Mickey Mouse set to make his debut at the Pudong New Area in about six years, the financial center is well on its way to prove it's not all about business.
The upper photo, taken in May 1990, shows a panoramic view of the relatively prosperous Puxi district of Shanghai, with the then undeveloped Pudong area in the background. The lower photo, taken on April 5, 2010, shows the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, located in the Pudong New Area.[Photo/Xinhua]
"In our eyes, Disneyland has taken on the responsibility for our district's economic transformation in the next five years," said Jiang Liang, governor of Pudong New Area, at a press conference to commemorate its 20th anniversary on April 14.
Pudong was conceived 20 years ago as the new financial district of Shanghai when development land in the old city center around the Bund began to run out.
Since then, the tip of Pudong in Lujiazui has been transformed from swampland into a home for banks, both domestic and foreign, the stock exchange and the futures exchange. The Shanghai headquarters of the central bank is also located in the neighborhood.
More than 130 multinational firms have chosen to set up their regional headquarters in the zone, accounting for more than half of the total in Shanghai. There is no shortage of luxury hotels in the vicinity and apartments in many high-rises facing the river are fetching the highest rents in the city.
A total of four bridges and 11 tunnels run across the Huangpu River, connecting the old city area with Pudong, which covers 1,210-sqare-km, with a population of 4.12 million.
"We are hoping to take the lead in Shanghai's aim to develop into a global financial and shipping center," Jiang said.
According to the government plan, such an effort will be balanced by the development of the service industry, including entertainment and tourism.
"The Disney park fits well in Shanghai's economic transformation and will further boost the tourism industry in the Yangtze River Delta region," said Yu Nanping, a researcher from the School of Advanced International and Area Studies of East China Normal University.
Disneyland is expected to be a boon to the service industry, giving Shanghai an added competitive edge on the global stage, said Xu Guoxiang, director of the Research Center for Applied Statistics at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
According to Jiang, 97 percent of residents living on the land designated for the Disney park have been relocated so far and the land will be handed over for construction of the amusement park by July.
"The park is slated to open within five to six years," Jiang said.
He added that the city will pump 100 billion yuan into urban infrastructure construction, including the theme park project, in the next three years. The district has invested 270 billion yuan for such projects over the past two decades.
"Looking ahead, we have many opportunities to develop further," said Jiang, citing the amusement park, a jumbo jet project, and the newly merged Nanhui district as examples.
The local government mapped out a blueprint for the next decade on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, laying out "7+1" development strategies for Pudong. The "7" include a 22.76-sq-m Shanghai Comprehensive Free Trade Zone, a 240-sq-m Lingang Industry Zone consisting of logistics and heavy machinery parks, a 30.78-sq-km Lujiazui Financial Trade Zone, a 77.45-sq-km Zhangjiang High-Tech Park to develop cutting-edge technologies, a 67.79-sq-km Jinqiao Export Processing Zone to develop an advanced manufacturing industry by incorporating Jianqiao with Nanhui Industry Zone and the Airport Industrial Park, a 74-sq-km Lingang Urban District Zone to build up an environment-friendly new area for residents, and an International Tourist Resort Zone mainly embedding the Disneyland.
The "+1" is the 3.93 square-km Post-World Expo Zone in Pudong to develop modern service industries including finance, exhibition and culture.
(China Daily 04/21/2010 page6)