XIONG’AN, Hebei – Just more than 100km south-west of Beijing in neighbouring Hebei province is Xiong’an, a special economic area designed to take over some of the capital’s non-government functions in a bid to ease overcrowding and spread out development.
An ambitious urban planning project built on former farmland, it aims to become a special economic zone that is on a par with Shenzhen and Pudong in Shanghai.
On Monday, local officials hosted Singapore’s Education Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing, who is on a four-day visit to Beijing to co-chair the 9th Singapore-China Forum on Leadership.
During a meeting with the area’s party chief Zhang Guohua, Mr Chan said the project was unique and forward-looking in how it aims to move non-government functions out of the capital city, so the greater region can develop as a whole, rather than simply building a new capital.
Mr Zhang said there is much that Singapore and Xiong’an can collaborate on in future, especially in the area of “software” and social policies after all the infrastructure has been built.
Mr Zhang noted that Xiong’an has taken inspiration from many urban planning projects across the world, including Singapore, with input from renowned architect Liu Thai Ker, whom he referred to as a mentor.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken special interest in the planning and development of Xiong’an – dubbed a project of “millennial significance” – visiting thrice since it was announced in 2017.
Some 40 businesses have already set up shop in the sprawling area covering around 1,770 sq km, many having relocated from Beijing or setting up satellite regional offices. Most of these firms focus on finance, services and the digital economy.
At the heart of the development is a 20.9 billion yuan (S$3.9 billion) integrated hub that will include an exhibition centre, mall and underground transport hub that will connect the area to Beijing’s Daxing Airport in just under 30 minutes.
Also part of the Singapore delegation were Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo; Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and National Development Tan Kiat How; Minister of State for National Development and Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim; Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Desmond Tan; and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth as well as Social and Family Development Eric Chua.
They will attend the leadership forum on Tuesday at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.
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