Jing-Jin-Ji is designed to hold 110 million people and merge outer parts of Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin.
In April, China announced plans to create Xiongan, an enormous new city 60 miles south of Beijing which sits within the Jing-Jin-Ji urban megaregion. While details are still emerging about the future of Xiongan – which will cover the counties of Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin, as well as the Baiyangdian wetlands – reports envisage a city that will grow to three times the size of New York. It will incorporate universities, institutions and residents from the capital, helping alleviate pressure on housing and public services – although not before prompting an initial land-buying frenzy in the area cited for development.
The government’s grand ambition is for “a strategy crucial for a millennium to come,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Morgan Stanley expects the investment in infrastructure and relocation to run about 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) in the first 15 years.
Xiongan spans three counties. The infrastructure build-out will cover 100 square kilometers initially, expand to 200 square kilometers in the mid-term and eventually occupy a space of about 2,000 square kilometers, similar to Shenzhen now, the government says.
President Xi Jinping’s long-range vision is to transform a sleepy region known for its orchards and lotus flowers into a glittering new technology and innovation hub teeming with companies, universities and world-class transportation and business infrastructure. “In five years, Xiongan New Area is going to be the most high-end tech center,” said Xie, 42. “This new area is going to drive China’s economy. It’s President Xi Jinping’s project.”
Jing-Jin-Ji region is already makes up 10% of China’s GDP, with many factories and manufacturing hubs being relocated to the new cluster. A new $36bn (£28bn) rail plan and 600 miles of new track for Jing-Jin-Ji was approved in December, with plans for high-speed trains to connect the outlying cities of the new megaregion to central Beijing on a 30-minute commute.
China’s National Plan on New Urbanisation for 2014-2020 outlines 11 “urban clusters” (regions incorporating multiple cities and smaller towns) to receive additional investment.
The largest will be Jing-Jin-Ji (110 million);
the region around Chengdu and Chongqing (projected population of 60 million);
The urban clusters will get infrastructure to build fast rail transport that allows people to commute large distances quickly, and investment to develop the second/third/fourth-tier cities in that region to hold devolved functions from the main city – such as moving universities out of Beijing to Xiongan.
the Yangtze Delta cluster around Shanghai (around 90 million); and
the Yangtze River Middle Reaches cluster around Wuhan (projected population 29 million).