China to establish new economic zone near Beijing

China announced Saturday it would establish the Xiongan New Area in Hebei Province, as part of measures to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region.

According to the official announcement, the Xiongan New Area will serve as Beijing's extension and a de facto secondary capital once completed so as to ease overcrowding in Beijing. The country's capital is notorious for its pollution and overpopulation, and the government aims to address those issues with the creation of Xiongan New Area.

But the preparatory committee for Xiongan New Area took a dim view of the speculative stampede, announcing yesterday that seven people had been arrested for "real estate violations", state news site China Daily reported. The new district would initially cover an area of about 100 square kilometres, and authorities want to turn the region into a new growth centre as China's economy slows, according to the news agency.

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For investors, the new area will focus on environmental, transportation and industrial upgrades as a jumping off point for a broader effort, UBS Securities wrote in a research note.

"This would be one of the centrepieces of a high-level development plan for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region", said Bill Bowler, a sales trader at Forsyth Barr Asia Ltd in Hong Kong.

Regional planning should be systematic, Zhang said, with stronger land, real estate and population controls.

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A number of wholesale markets in the city's central areas have been shut down or relocated, and some of Beijing's city administration will be moved out of the city center to the southeastern suburbs in Tongzhou, which is called Beijing's "subsidiary administrative center". The new area is not deeply developed so the construction of the infrastructure can start at a higher level.

According to local media, China is building a city which is three times bigger than NY. It will initially occupy 100 square kilometers and eventually cover 2,000 square kilometers.

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