If I didn't already know where I was, I would have thought I had just stepped into a development zone in a coastal city in Eastern China.That was my first impression of the Zhengdong New District, located on the east side of Zhengzhou, the capital of China's central Henan Province.
Construction of Convention & Exhibition Centre is underway.
A group of buildings have been erected
During a recent tour to the district, I found groups of sky scrappers tied together by overpasses, surrounded by a large lush green area. Although the district's development projects are still underway, Zhengdong already embodies a modern beautiful waterfront city.
Following a tour to the New District on Thursday, I interviewed Gao Jingyan, Director Assistant of the Administration Committee of Zhengdong New District.
Reporter: Why did the Zhengzhou government start to build the New District?
Gao Jingyan: I believe there are two important reasons. First, the Zhengzhou urban area couldn't cope with the growing number of people moving to the city, mostly people from the surrounding rural areas. The other reason is the need for economic development in central China. Usually, based on traditional conventions, enlarging a city only caters to current needs. However, in this case, the new Zhendong district has been planned carefully taking into concern long-term interests, so even 15 years from now the development will still be considered fresh.
Reporter: So what size is the New District?
Gao Jingyan: It covers 150 square kilometers, equaling the current urban area of Zhengzhou city.
Reporter: What are the distinctive features of the New District?
Gao Jingyan: The new district is a more aesthetic waterfront city. It not only features skyscrapers but also the Long Lake, giving it a rich water resource. Some say it is not suitable to build large water projects here, since only southern China is considered as rich in water, but the low groundwater level allows the new district to build the Long Lake: over the centuries this has been one of China's greatest wetlands.
Reporter: When the whole project is completed, do you think residents in the current Zhengzhou city will flood the new district? Gao Jingyan: The two new districts and the current district are simultaneously improving, so it is very convenient to come and go between the two areas.
Reporter: Will the Zhengzhou government move to the new district in the future?
Gao Jingyan: Currently, there are no such plans; I personally believe the location of the government in the old district will be conducive not only to the stability and improvement in the old district but also to keeping a balance of development between the new and old districts.
Reporter: I found the Convention & Exhibition Centre, which will be circled by 60 sky scrappers, is located at the heart of the Central Business District in the new district. Does this mean Zhengzhou will take the plunge to develop the conferences and exhibition business?
Gao Jingyan: I think building the modern Convention & Exhibition Centre does not primarily aim at making profit but rather aims at promoting Zhengzhou's popularity, revamping Henan's image and giving an impetus to the development of other industries.
Reporter: What aspects of the city attract investors?
Gao Jingyan: Firstly, it has an unique advantage in transport. Zhengzhou has an excellent road network, and many rail stations cross the province. Secondly, there is a big labour-force, and the government has provided special policies for investors. The markets in coastal areas have tended to be saturated, while Henan still has great potential to tap. Henan is the centre of China. If one throws a stone in the center of a lake, the ripples will form a circle, but if he or she throws a stone in the sides of the lake, the ripple would only form a sector. That's the effect of investing in Zhengzhou and the developing economy in the central parts of China.
Some Background of Zhengdong New District:
The new development project will have a distinctive look as a city of waterways linking rivers and canals.
The new district is expected to be a residential, financial, and commercial business center as well as a destination for tourists drawn by its lush environment.
Construction has started in 2002, and is scheduled to be completed in 2015.