Economic Opportunities for Xi'an Created by Xi'an-Chengdu High-speed Railway

2017-12-06 10:27:56 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Running through and across mountains, Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway is to be in operation.

At 13:31 of Dec 5, Yin Wenjing at length posted the message in her mobile app WeChat Moments, the most popular social media in China, that she had edited in her mind for over several months: “The Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway is in operation at long last, and it won’t be great trouble to go to Chengdu.”

However, the reason for her to be in such an expectation is not that she loves the multitude of delicious foods of Chengdu, capital city of West China’s Sichuan Province, but that she is the staff of an engineering company in charge of tendering and has to travel on business between Xi’an and Chengdu as well as its neighboring regions like Deyang. “A while back, there was a rumor going around that the flights between Xi’an and Chengdu were all cancelled by airlines due to the opening of the Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway, and it put my life in big troubles,” said she, who even recorded her nightmarish experience in early November in the WeChat Moments, where she took totally 11 hours to reach her destination Deyang from Xi’an, via the airport and railway station Chongqing, a provincial-level city of West China, and then the railway station of Chengdu.

But Yin Wenjing will not be alone in looking forward to the opening of the Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway, which will not only make travel convenient for local residents but also bring opportunities to Xi’an for economic development, according to Zhang Baotong, president of Shaanxi Province Economic and Cultural Research.

Expansion of “Great Xi’an” space and Southern Shaanxi Incorporated in the city cluster of Guanzhong

Many of his colleagues cannot understand the pain Miao Xin would take for his trip to home town in Hanzhong. “Everybody knows it is not a long distance between Xi’an and Hanzhong, but who knows it still takes four to five hours for me to get home,” said he. The reason is there is no direct train connecting the two cities.

According to an investigation of modes of transport between the two places, the coach trip on highway takes 3.5 hours and costs 90.5 yuan; the train trip takes 11 to 16 hours due to unavailability of direct lines and the transit in Ankang; the air trip has to make transit via Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and other cities, except a one-hour long red-eye direct flight available at 22:00.

The reason for that is, said Zhang Baotong, that the Qinling Mountains lie between them, and “the opening of Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway will get over the big mountains and lift the cluster of cities in Guanzhong out of the geographical limit of the Guanzhong Plain. He also said that with the railway in operation which brings the higher speed and shorter distance, it will take around one hour from Xi’an to cities in the southern Shaanxi such as Foping County, Yangxian County, Chenggu County, Hanzhong City and Ningqiang County. And the railway along with the Xi’an-Chongqing, Xi’an-Wuhan high-speed railways in future, will incorporate three important cities in southern Shaanxi, i.e., Hanzhong, Ankang, Shangluo, into the “Cluster of Cities of Big Guanzhong”, with exchanges and movements of people, goods, capitals, information intensified with each other and economic space of Xi’an expanded, which will drive the economy of the province forward as a whole.

“West Triangle” will be expedited and usher in new landscape for development of West China

Proposed a few years back, the concept of “West Triangle” indicates that three central cities of West China, namely, Xi’an, Chengdu and Chongqing, shall be connected to each other to form the region of economic cooperation linking the south and north parts of West China, the fourth growth pole of China, next to the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integration. But the existing geographical difficulties of Sichuan region, where Chengdu and Chongqing are located, have made the concept hard to be realized.

The Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway will expedite the realization of the “West Triangle”. “The previous difficulties of integrating the three leading cities in West China will be overcome by the opening of the high-speed railways, first between Xi’an and Chengdu, then between Xi’an and Chongqing. The formation of West Triangle that will advance the development of West China will only be made possible with the formation of high-speed triangle,” said Zhang Baotong.

According to Cao Gang, member of Shaanxi Provincial Advisory Committee of Decision Making, the new landscape so formed by the shortened travel time between Xi’an and Chengdu, will help the convenient and integrated development of enterprises and industrial parks of the two cities.

In August this year, Wang Yongkang, member of standing committee of Communist Party of Shaanxi Provincial Committee of and Secretary of Communist Party of Xi’an Municipal Committee, said at the signing ceremony of framework agreement between Xi’an and Chengdu, “Xi’an and Chengdu shall seize the historic opportunities to intensify cooperation in transportation, innovation, logistics, tourism and industries with a view to seeking win-win development relying on strengths of both sides and to raising the competitiveness of both cities and the influence of the region.” His expectation will be accelerated for realization with the opening of Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway.

New era of the “Belt and Road” and Great Xi’an for Asia-Europe Cooperation

Apart from the extensive economic and trade cooperation amid leading cities of Northwest and Southwest China, the opening of Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway will make contributions to the endeavors of Xi’an in building the national-level central city and the international metropolis for Asia-Europe cooperation of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

Shaanxi is the core area of the “Belt and Road Initiative” and Xi’an is the core of this core area, since the cluster of cities of Big Guanzhong with Xi’an as its center will provide the strategic support. In the 5 pilot free trade zones set up on the mainland by China, the State Council assigns the Shaanxi Pilot Free Trade Zone the role of exploring the new model of economic cooperation and cultural and people-to-people exchanges with countries along the “Belt and Road”. “To fulfill this task, Xi’an must make itself the ‘heart’ of the Eurasian Continental Bridge Economic Belt, and high-speed railways are the arteries of the strong ‘heart’,” said Zhang Baotong.

The geographical advantage of the Shaanxi Pilot Free Trade Zone will be amplified with the opening of Xi’an-Chengdu High-speed Railway and undertake the construction and expansion of influence of the “Belt and Road”. As a high-speed railway hub city of China, Xi’an, which has connected major regions in Northwest, East and Central China, will achieve its connectivity with the rest of the country after the addition of the linking to Southwest China.

It will be more convenient for Xi’an to integrate the resources in Northwest, Southwest and East China such as the China-Europe Train which opens up to West China, to carry the economic and trade factors to the other end of the Silk Road, through the continental bridge between Lianyungang of Jiangsu Province and Urumchi of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, hence enhancing the structure of opening-up of the metropolis of Xi’an.

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