Cooperation sought to pilot green growth of Yangtze zone
The demonstration zone for the integration of the Yangtze River Delta called for the participation of different parties to pilot green growth in the region during a developers' conference in Shanghai on Wednesday.
The zone sits at the border of Shanghai and two neighboring provinces with an area of 2,300 square kilometers. It will lead the implementation of the region's integration.
Li Qiang, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, said in his opening speech at the conference that rice and fish have been abundant in the area since ancient times. He added that the demonstration zone should embody the concept of sustainable development, break down administrative barriers and accelerate innovation.
"The area will be a land of miracles, and to achieve our goals we need a group of ambitious developers with passion and entrepreneurship," he said.
Twelve entities founded a developers' alliance during the conference, including companies such as Huawei and Alibaba; academic representatives from Fudan University and the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design; and financial institutions such as the US-China Green Fund and the China International Capital Corporation.
The China Three Gorges Corporation will serve as the first rotating chair of the alliance.
Wang Lin, general manager of the Three Gorges company, said the corporation will work with other members to explore ways to develop the delta while protecting the environment.
Also during the conference, officials from the National Development and Reform Commission, Shanghai and the city's two neighboring provinces called for design plans for a 35-square-kilometer area called "The Living Room of the Jiangnan Watertown", which is located in the middle of the demonstration zone.
"We are looking for ideas across the globe that can incorporate international standards with Chinese characteristics in building an environmentally sustainable watertown," Duan Jin, an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said during his keynote speech on the guiding principles of the development of the area.
Duan added that details about the submission will be released online on Thursday.
A slew of developmental projects and agreements were signed during the conference, including the creation of an integration index to assist policymaking, a collaboration agreement between design and urban planning institutions, and the integration of healthcare systems among Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang and Anhui.
Xia Kejia, director of the Shanghai municipal healthcare security bureau, said they have completed a cross-city medical expense system in more than 5,000 hospitals in all the 41 cities in the Yangtze River Delta last year.
"By July, around 2.1 million patients have used that direct payment service with total transactions of 17.5 billion yuan ($2.5 billion) in medical expenses," Xia said.
Xia added that the bureaus are working on removing other inconveniences.
For example, they are seeking a resolution that would enable people to pay for healthcare in other cities in the zone by using their health insurance. Currently, people who visit hospitals outside of the city where they pay their premiums must pay for medical procedures out of pocket, or apply for insurance in the city where they are receiving care.
Liu Jun, president of Bank of Communications, said the bank will provide financing services to green projects in the delta region, such as upgrading environmental protection equipment and reinventing traditional industries.
"We believe being green has its value," Liu said.