Showtime for modern Chongqing
Updated: 2013-06-07 07:29
The city also has unique advantages.
The costs of power and resources for industrial development remain relatively low in Chongqing. For example, the cost of 110kV electricity is 20 percent lower than in Shanghai and natural gas is 40 percent cheaper.
Former farmers attend a course on baby care, part of a 'Urban Skills School' program, initiated by the administrative committee of Chongqing Liangjiang New Area.
Chongqing is also home to 8 million migrant workers, although half of them are working away in coastal cities. The local government is using every means to bring them back, including the construction of affordable housing projects and the provision of free training programs.
In addition, the local authorities have taken a series of measures to simplify the approval process for businesses, according to Lin Hai, deputy director of the department of government affairs with the Liangjiang administrative committee.
"The law requires that company registration takes no longer than 70 days, although normally it only takes around 30 days to complete the procedure.
"However, in our department, it takes less than three days to register a foreign-funded business," he said.
These favorable conditions have seen the area attract 113 Fortune 500 companies, with 44 of them coming from the United States and Europe, and 19 from Japan and South Korea.
The US high-tech giant Honeywell, a global leader in advanced manufacturing, is among those to have expressed confidence in the future development of Liangjiang.
The company's 23,000-square-meter plant in Liangjiang produces friction materials. It's the biggest facility of its kind in China, and more than half of its space is still unoccupied.
"Only production cells No 1 and No 2 have been put into operation so far, but a third cell will be in place at the end of the year," said plant manager Patrice Fortier, adding that more production capacity is in the pipeline.
Fortier said the decision to set up a plant in Liangjiang was made because of the ease of access to raw materials and the convenience of waterborne transport to ship the final products to customers, mainly foreign automakers based in China.
Although Fortier is confident about the plant's future development, he admits there is still much work to do before Liangjiang will become as attractive to foreigners as Beijing and Shanghai.
"Generally, life is OK for a foreigner in China, but that's not yet the case in Chongqing, because not many people here speak English," said Fortier, adding that he flies to Shanghai or Guangzhou at weekends to relieve his feelings of loneliness.
Residents play cards in a newly built residential community in Chongqing's Yubei district. Wang Jing / China Daily