With lofty goals, a town of openness rises
Lingang, a special area that is part of the Shanghai free trade zone, will be the answer to the liberalization and facilitation of investment and trade in the next five years.
On the southeastern tip of Shanghai, a number of functional platforms with higher openness will be created together with the agglomeration of a number of world-class enterprises, which will significantly enhance regional creativity and competitiveness, and significantly boost economic strength and total output, according to the master plan for the development of Lingang.
Moreover, the port town on the East China Sea will become a special economic functional zone in the next 10 years with a much more developed system.
By that time, the core function of Lingang will be the allocation of global high-end resources when it plays the role as a major site for China’s deep integration into economic globalization, according to the plan.
Lingang is expected to become China’s answer to internationally recognized economic zones with the strongest level of competitiveness, such as Tokyo Bay, Singapore Marina Bay and Dubai Free Zone.
The zone’s newest addition promises to offer free access to cargo, easier capital flow, improved transport and relaxed rules on personnel and communications.
Called the Lingang Special Area, it was set up to promote smart manufacturing, modern services and a setting for innovation and healthy competition.
It has unveiled 50 preferential policies related to administrative authority, human resources, finance, taxation, urban planning, industrial development, housing and infrastructure.
It will focus on seven cutting-edge industries so as to differentiate itself from the rest of the free trade zone.
Chen Jie, deputy director of the Lingang Special Area Administrative Committee, said that Lingang’s role in industrial development is to unblock bottlenecks and support the innovative growth of emerging industries.
The seven sectors it is targeting are integrated circuit, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, aerospace, new-energy vehicle, equipment manufacturing and green remanufacturing.
Lingang’s aim to be different from the rest of the free trade zone includes focusing on new international trade, cross-border financial services, shipping services, information services and scientific and technological innovation services.
Lingang is envisioned as an Asia-Pacific, cross-border capital service and offshore settlement center for multinational enterprises. It will also play a role as a cluster of new offshore trading headquarters, thanks to the customized cross-border free trade policy.
Additionally, Lingang will promote the development of high-end shipping services as part of Shanghai’s ambition to become an international shipping center.
Lingang marks a further opening-up of China’s trade policies and the shift in emphasis on the service industry from manufacturing, said Quan Heng, vice chairman of the Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations.
With widely expected risks in the service sector, such as in the fields of education, medicine and finance, China needs to balance these uncertainties when it further opens up its economy, Quan said.
Lingang must therefore become a testing ground for pressure and risks, he added.
Many institutional innova-tions, such as the reform of the government supervision system, including classified supervision, coordinated supervision and intelligent supervision, need to be tested in the new area first, Quan stated.
Chen Yin, executive vice mayor of Shanghai and director of the Lingang Special Area Administrative Committee, said the new area will eventually cover 872 square kilometers.
Lingang will provide more public services and create a livable and business-friendly modern town with a high-quality life, Chen said.
It will advance education, medical resources, sports, recreation and cultural and leisure activities. In short, it will be an ideal place in Shanghai for people to live and work, according to the Lingang New Area Economic Development Co, a subsidiary of the state-owned Lingang Group.
Lingang will be mainly divided into eight areas:
1. A cutting-edge industrial zone will be set up for the development of the integrated circuit, intelligent new-energy vehicle, high-end equipment manufacturing, green remanufacturing, aeronautics and next-generation information technology industries.
2. An international coordination zone of innovation will cluster enterprises in the fields of artificial intelligence, intelligent new-energy vehicle and integrated circuit, next-generation information technology, marine science and technology innovation, and international medical service.
3. The life science and technology industrial zone is for biomedicine and intelligent new-energy vehicle.
4. The pilot area of comprehensive zone focuses on aerospace, new-generation information technology, intelligent manufacturing, integrated circuit and technology innovation service.
5. A special comprehensive bonded zone will be where modern shipping service and new international trade flourish.
6. An open area of the modern service industry will boost the development of cross-border financial services, new international trade, international medical services.
7. The area to the south of the Pudong International Airport will be the base for aeronautics and modern shipping service.
8. Lesser Yangshan Island zone is for modern shipping service.