High-level Opening-up and Innovation Boost High-quality National Central City Construction in Xi’an: Li Mingyuan, National People's Congress Deputy

|ChinaNews|Published:2020-06-01 21:36:56

Situated at the center of China, Xi’an is a national central city, a key participant in the development of western China and a hub on the Belt and Road. It’s also a major base for sci-tech research, higher education and manufacturing. How will it seize the opportunity in China’s new develop-the-west campaign to advance reform and opening up, accelerate its national central city construction and build a sci-tech innovation center on the Silk Road? CRI Online spoke with Xi'an Mayor Li Mingyuan who is a National People's Congress deputy in an exclusive interview on May 28.

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Li Mingyuan is a deputy to the National People's Congress and the mayor of Xi’an Photo: Liu Hao

CRI Online: How will Xi’an further push forward reform and opening up?

Li Mingyuan: As a core area for advancing opening-up in Shaanxi Province, Xi’an has kept accelerating its efforts in this regard in recent years. In 2019, the Chang'an China-Europe freight trains reached 45 countries and regions with 2,133 trips made, up 70% year on year and making it among the country’s top Eurasia freight train operators in the number of trips, cargo volume and the ratio of loaded containers on returning trips. The Xi’an Xianyang International Airport posted the fastest cargo throughput growth among China’s top 10 hub airports. Last year, Xi’an’s imports and exports hit 324.3 billion yuan with $7.057 billion of foreign investment utilized and 237 new foreign-funded enterprises set up. Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chang'an rail freight service has realized growth this year, making 2.3 times as many trips as in the same period a year ago.

Next, Xi’an will focus on ways to further increase its carrying capacity, enhance capability for attracting and gathering resources and improve convenience for investment and trade. We will accelerate the construction of a train hub and seize opportunities amid the country’s continuous efforts to promote the high-quality development of the China-Europe Railway Express, accelerate the establishment of a Belt and Road international commercial law service center and leverage the role of our comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zone in diversifying our trade service system. We’ll also strive to make our industries even stronger, develop the city into an international economic and cultural exchange center and improve our capability for holding sports, exhibition and other international events through hosting the 14th National Games.

CRI Online: How will Xi’an speed up its national central city construction?

Li Mingyuan: We’ll first make our real economy, particularly the manufacturing sector, stronger, assist enterprises and stabilize employment. We will take active and strong measures to build the city into an international consumption center and push forward new infrastructure construction, new urbanization and major transportation and water projects. We’ll also utilize Xi’an’s traditional advantages in scientific research and education to promote openness and sharing of innovative resources and foster greater synergy of sci-tech, finance, industry and talent. We will also promote higher-level opening-up, giving better play to the platforms such as the Belt and Road comprehensive pilot zone, the pilot free trade zone and the comprehensive bonded zone to further expand international cooperation and exchange, and improve the business environment.

CRI Online: In this year’s municipal government work report, you said Xi’an will continue to pursue an innovation-driven development strategy and build itself into a sci-tech innovation center on the Silk Road. What steps will Xi’an take to accelerate the transformation of sci-tech achievements into real productive forces and promote industrial upgrading through developing the innovative technology?

Li Mingyuan: First, we will set up a mechanism for coordinating sci-tech resources, ensure the government and the market both play a fundamental role in allocating these resources and encourage universities in the city to promote the transformation of sci-tech achievements.   

Second, we will establish high-level innovation platforms. Xi’an will support local universities, research institutes and enterprises in building national key labs and technological innovation centers, establish “sci-tech + finance” service platforms and set up risk compensation and financing guarantee funds for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Third, we will build “hard & core technology” innovation brands. Xi’an will enhance systematic research on hard & core technologies and rely on our universities, research institutes and major industries to build hard & core technology innovation research and industrial development clusters.

We will also coordinate innovation efforts made by enterprises, universities and research institutes, encouraging them to jointly establish frontier technology research institutions, open labs, and industrial technology innovation alliances and set up stock incentive mechanisms for sci-tech achievements transformation. We will launch the “Technology Market+” program to enable innovation to play a bigger role in boosting Xi’an economic development.

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