China is expecting to spend US$4.6 billion in infrastructure in 2011 alone for the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, US$15.4 million a day on average, and in the next three years more than US$15 billion, reaching US$38.5 billion by 2015. China is building a gigantic special economic zone on a cluster of islands on the other side of the Taiwan Strait some 150 km from the port city of Taichung, for the sole purpose of enhancing cross-straits industrial cooperation.
International architectural firm 10 Design has recently won the opportunity to master plan a 93-hectare (230-acre) waterfront central business district as part of a new development for Pingtan in China. Pingtan, being the closest Chinese island to Taiwan, is to be transformed into a new commercial hub in an effort to attract trade between the two sides of the Straits.
The Taiwanese are aware that it is the latest plan to lure Taiwan into an ever-closer economic embrace, It is unlikely that the Taiwanese government will take the necessary steps to link up with the Chinese plan before national elections expected in early 2012.
Pingtan is currently home to established sea farming and transportation industries, is China’s fifth-largest island and almost twice the size of Hong Kong. The development includes a 4.99 km (3.1 mile) Pingtan cross-Straits bridge, ending the need for ferries, with a second cross-Straits bridge on the drawing board. An expressway connecting Pingtan and Fuzhou (shortening the journey to 1.5 hours) is also in the works, as are five new ports, including a 200,000-ton (181,437-tonne)-capacity port and two 300,000-ton (272,155-tonne) ports.