Beijing invests in small towns


Beijing is building a 10 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) fund to splurge on 42 small towns in the city’s outskirts, authorities announced on Tuesday.

The capital would pick 42 out of 182 small towns around the city for development, according to a press release from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform on Tuesday.

Every outlying district and county would have one fund-supported town during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the Beijing Times on Tuesday quoted commission district and county division director Xiao Huili as saying.

Each town would have a specialty such as tourism, advanced agriculture, conferencing or an industrial park, according to the release.

Pilot schemes will begin with tourism development in Changgou township of Fangshan district and an industrial park economy for both Weishanzhuang of Daxing district and Lisui in Shunyi district, the release said.

As the small towns are situated at the junction between the countryside and urban areas, the plan would help resolve the agricultural problems and provide more space for residents from both downtown Beijing and the countryside, according to the press release.

“The orientation of the plan is no problem,” Li Wei, city construction and development researcher with Beijing Great Wall Strategy Consultants, told the Global Times on Tuesday, “aiming to transfer the traditional agricultural industry toward the tourism service industry and urban population.”

Good governance would be the key to the three cities’ success, Li believed.

The government will invest 500 million yuan ($77.27 million) venture capital guiding fund, hoping to attract capital from the China Development Bank Capital Corporation, State-owned and private companies, social insurance funds and overseas funds.

“The small town development fund is a new financial asset management model with the integration of government support and market operation that could make up for both the lack of continuity with social investment and the small amount of governmental investment,” investment and financing researcher Chen Jingwei with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing told the Beijing Morning Post on Tuesday.

The authorities had signed the small town development fund cooperation agreement to experiment with an equity fund model to deal with funding shortages in small town development, a first in the country, according to the commission.

Global Times

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