The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has announced a plan to develop new conurbations, or city clusters, along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. It comes as the country moves to create a new economic growth engine, and promote urbanization in the region.
The city clusters cover a total area of 317,000 square kilometers in Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces located in the heart of the Yangtze River valley. The three provincial capitals, Wuhan, Changsha and Nanchang will be the core parts of the city clusters.
They will feature new development projects including the connectivity of infrastructure. Priority will be given to projects which center on coordinated urban-rural development, as well as transport, water and energy schemes.
The government aims to promote industrial transformation and speed up industrial upgrades, to build what it calls "competitive industrial clusters", as well as to strengthen modern agricultural bases. Emphasis will also be given to environmental protection, educational cooperation, science, technology and medical services.
The new plan will be a continuation of implementing the "Rise of Central China" strategy outlined in 2004. It is expected to boost economic growth along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and achieve more balanced development nationwide.