Innovation, sustainability, win-win and a great leap: core strategies for take-off of Kashgar
- 08 October 2011
By Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group.
The State Council of China today promulgated the programmatic and instructive document about bolstering the development of economic development zone in Kashgar, outlining ten policies in support of Kashgar’s development and take-off in the new era. Last year the central government issued The CPC Central Committee and State Council’s Suggestions on promoting the leapfrog development and long-term stability of Xinjiang (No.9 2010), and so the document presented today is a practical step taken to truly implement this.
But how to interpret this document?
First of all, China’s strategic positioning of the Kashgar Economic Development Zone has two key functions: “open land” and ”radiation effect”. “Open land” is another strategic move following the previous “open sea”, in accordance with China ‘s continuous efforts ever since the implementation of “opening up” policy more than 30 years ago. “Open land” aims to expand the “opening up” of China’s inner land, and to enhance the economic and trade cooperation with Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern Europe through Kashgar’s regional advantage of “adjacent to eight countries and bridging Asia and Europe”. The “radiation effect” is to enhance industrialization, urbanization and informanization of Kashgar, making it a new economic growth area of XinJiang, so as to effectively promote the economic growth of the other surrounding areas.
Secondly, the state has set a relatively clear timetable for the construction of Kashgar Economic Development Zone, with 2015 and 2020 being the two key time points in measuring the speed of construction. Hopefully from now until 2015, resources could be accumulated to build the necessary infrastructure and lay a solid foundation in advance for the 2020 significant take off.
Also, Kashgar’s development and take-off in the second decade of the 21st century is in stark contrast to that of Shenzhen’s 33 years ago. More than 30 years’ quest for reform and opening up has provided Kashgar an example to refer to.
Standing on the shoulders of the giants and predecessors, Kashgar embraces a new height to explore development opportunities and advantages. “Rolling, Innovation, Coordination, Mutual and Scientific Development”, the basic principles for Kashgar put forward by the State Councl, will hopefully guide Kashgar to a new way for its development in the new era.
Furthermore, the state has proposed a series of ideas about the industrial layout for Kashgar. Industries that are based on Kashgar’s traditional strengths: agricultural processing, tourism, cultural, ethnic specialty products processing; Kashgar’s traditional industries: textiles, building materials and metallurgy; industries that strengthen export trade: trade logistics, export poles products processing assembly; import processing industry; processing of imported resources; and some emerging strategic industries: bio-processing, renewable energy, new energy, new materials and machinery manufacturing.
The development and revitalization of these industries will effectively enhance the region's industrialization, and contribute to the formation of industrial agglomeration. At the same time, it is crucial that Kashgar takes real practical steps to enhance its economic and trade cooperation with Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Eastern Europe as well as actively participates in the international division of industries and markets.
All of the goals cannot be achieved without incentives and support of state policy. In the State Council documents, ten policies are specified to support the opening up and development of Kashgar areas. These policies are: to support infrastructure construction, fixed assets investment through national and local financial subsidies, to give priorities to industrial development and strengthen the construction of ports and customs, so as to better serve the economic and trade between Kashgar and other countries. Besides, the state will also lay a solid foundation and meet material conditions for the Kashgar’s long-term sustainable development through finance, technology, land, infrastructure and transport policy incentives.
The implementation of the revitalization plan for the Kashgar Economic Development Zone shall be demonstrated through The General Development Plan for Kashgar Economic Development Zone.
Recently, I paid a visit to Kashgar and gained some primitive understanding about it. In my point of view, “Innovation, Sustainability, Win-win and Leapfrogging” should be the core strategy in the forthcoming Plan. The plan should fully reflect the ecological fragility in Kashgar and the urgent need for protection, put equal strategic weights on protecting ecology as well as resources and development and try balance the relationship between resources and ecological ”scarcity, fragility, preservation and development”. For a region like Kashgar, development is the “unyielding principle”.
But how to develop? How to attain sustainable development? These remaining propositions require policy makers to ponder and explore.
Kashgar’s revitalization must be based on its ecological carrying capacity. We need to calculate how much resource consumption is, how much energy supply is, how waste recycling and reutilization, water utilization and reutilization is going, etc.
How much is Kashgar able to take? It is not only about today, but also about tomorrow.
As for the industries to be introduced into Kashgar, our standards and levels must be set high. We must prevent and eliminate the westward shift of outdated industries from the east coastline, otherwise future generations would be suffering.
A question always in my mind is, “why would a global leading enterprise be willing to settle in Kashgar?” Favorable tax and land polies are far from being enough. We also need a lot of other “hardware” and “software” in place, including a complete industrial chain, easy access of products to markets and of course import conditions for human capital. These are likely to be the vulnerable disadvantages for Kashgar’s development in the short term.
During the urbanization process, Kashgar should take advantage of its unique natural resources, and especially the fact that Kashgar enjoys long periods of sun light. We should also strive to develop and use solar energy, making Kashgar the first emerging city in China completely free of fossil fuels. This calls for vision from policy maker, and vision about green development in particular.
Kashgar’s development also requires us to handle properly its relations with other countries in the same region, in line with the principle of mutual benefit to jointly explore the region’s sustainable development. This is important, as Kashgar’s strategic positioning today is not only related with China’s global strategic layout of resources but is also closely linked to China’s “go global” strategy. Moreover, how can Kashgar makes full use of China’s rapid increase of economic strength, in accordance with China’s regional and global strategies, so as to explore a regional win-win and harmonious development model? This will benefit the economic leap of this region, and also fully reflect China’s “peaceful development” international strategy.
It is late into the silent night, a day will pass very soon. This is a day worth remembering. I hope that today will leave its mark in Kashgar’s history and that in the near future Kashgar will be like a pearl, shining in the fortress of the ancient “Silk Road”.
Kashgar’s development and green take-off will be based on thousands years of cultural heritage and traditions, rich natural resources in the oasis, and the integration of diverse national cultures as its lifeblood.
Good luck to Kashgar!