Opinion / Tan Yingzi

New Sino-Singapore project makes Chongqing proud again

By Tan Yingzi (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-11-30 18:08

New Sino-Singapore project makes Chongqing proud again
The artist's rendition of "Raffles City Chongqing" complex.[Photo/IC]

During President Xi Jinping's state visit to Singapore in early November, the two sides announced the third government-to-government project will be located in the southwest Chinese municipality of Chongqing.

It was big news for the 30 million residents in the mountainous city and a confidence boost for the local government which has been in the shadow of the scandal of former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai in 2012.

Following the first in Suzhou in east China and the second in Tianjin in north China, it was a thoughtful decision after rounds of discussion and inspection with several strong candidate cities in inland China, including Chengdu in Sichuan province, Xi'an in Shaanxi province and Wuhan in Hubei province.

Although the details of the third intergovernmental project have not yet disclosed, many experts predicted that the new project in Chongqing will serve the needs of the Belt and Road Initiative and a proposed economic belt along the Yangtze River.

And it will emphasize modern interconnectivity and mutual access as well as the modern service economy.

But why Chongqing?

The city, almost as big as Austria, is the fourth municipality under the direct leadership of the central government after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, the only one in west China.

Located on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, it has long been a gateway to the Wild West.

Chongqing boasts more than 60 higher education institutions with more than one million college students, plus about 300 vocational schools. As the center of technology, education, manufacturing, trade and logistics in west China, it is often compared with Chicago in the United States.

In recent years, thanks to China's Go West plan, the municipality has seen its economy develop at a fast pace with double digit growth, which has attracted much attention from foreign investors. In the first half of this year, Chongqing's GDP growth rate led the country with 11 percent.

While Singapore has been China's largest foreign investor for two consecutive years, it is also Chongqing's top investor.

According to the city's foreign trade and economic relations commission, 246 Singapore companies have invested US$5.5 billion in Chongqing.

Three years ago Singapore property giant CapitaLand put down a $4 billion wager in Raffles City Chongqing at Chao Tian Men Square where the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers meet. It is the group's biggest single investment in China and also the largest made by any Singapore company.

Following the announcement in Singapore, Chongqing soon further developed the government-to-government project into more concrete plans to enhance cooperation with Singapore in financial services, aviation, logistics and information technology, according to the proposals for Chongqing's 13th Five-Year Plan.

Chongqing people are waiting with excitement to see how this project will change lives.

When completed by the end of 2017, the eight towers of Raffles City Chongqing will look like a sailing boat standing by the river.

Sail off, Chongqing!

The author is the China Daily Chongqing Bureau Chief and you can contact her at Tanyingzi@chinadaily.com.cn

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