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Zhanjiang plans to make Haidong New District the new business heart of the city, taking a role similar to that of Pudong New Area in Shanghai.
Local officials said it is necessary for a city to develop its rural areas when the city proper is saturated with residents and industries. There are too many examples to enumerate in the fast-developing China, such as Shanghai's Pudong New Area and Tianjin's Binhai New Area.
They said Zhanjiang, a city famous for its agricultural and aquatic industries, aspires to achieve economic takeoff with three new engines - Donghai Island that features heavy industries, the Fenyong high-tech zone targeting economic cooperation with Southeast Asia and Haidong New District that focuses on modern service industries.
The provincial government of Guangdong has attached much importance to the development of Haidong New District, listing it as one of the four key new districts to "expand the capacity and improve the quality" of cities in Guangdong.
The development of the 228-square-kilometer area, including 48 sq km on the sea, started in 2013. Hu Chunhua, Party chief of Guangdong, demanded high-level planning of the new district and has high hopes it will become a highlight of the province's move to upgrade its cities by 2017.
"We have drawn a long-term plan for the future of Haidong New District until 2030," said Liang Pei, the new district's Party chief.
"Whoever takes the district government's leadership should stick to the plan and develop it step by step into a prosperous business center and a beautiful seaside town on the east of Zhanjiang Bay."
The development plan for the district is in three stages.
In the first stage, infrastructure construction is forecast to be completed by 2016, with highways linking the district to the high-speed railway and the new airport of Zhanjiang.
Businesses will then be introduced into the district with many such enterprises expected to be operational by 2020.
During the remaining 10 years, more people and businesses will settle in the well-developed district with beautiful landscapes featuring blue sea, white beaches and green trees.
Local officials said traffic convenience is an essential precondition for an area's development.