By Seddiq Hussainy
ZHEJIANG: In southern China, there is a small city with big dreams and futuristic visions of development. Shangyu, located near Hangzhou Bay Area, is an industrial region with dynamic business environment. A district with lush mountains and lucid waters in Shaoxing city of Zhejiang province, Shangyu is a new urban area, a transportation hub and trade and business center. Representatives of mainstream media outlets were invited by the Communist Party of China to participate in the adventure in Shangyu. In my journey along with other journalists to this fast developing region, I came to know that it is open for business and investment. The local government has made entrepreneurship and innovation much easier, creating a suitable environment for commerce and business. New businesses can have their paperwork processed in a matter of hours because of easy and fast licensing procedures. In the government convenience service center, there is no bureaucratic hassle and no rent-seeking. The center offers one stop solution to businesses. Issuing business license which took weeks now can be done in few hours, meaning that bureaucratic procedures are simplified and made prompt. What is more surprising is that there is an online platform for business licensing. Applicants can have their documents processed online and without fees. Moreover, big government projects are put into bidding in this center. Most of bidders apply online to partake in a confidential yet transparent bidding process and the winner will be announced in 30 minutes. We witnessed a bidding process for a big construction project for a big farmland worth 4 million yuan. There is also an internet registration center to issue property licenses through an online platform, where proprietors can be authenticated in a video call. In Shangyu, city planning is taking a whole new shape. The administration has an avant-garde plan for the future, a city with advanced high-rise structures, ultramodern transportation system and super clean environment. The district is surrounded by very green mountains. On the outskirts in top of mountains, there is China’s most beautiful village. The scenic village has been turned into an exotic touristic spot offering luxury resorts to few selected tourists. The scenery there is exhilarating and weather super fine. The city is undergoing a rapid transformation and emerging as a model of innovation of science and technology. Like most parts of China, urbanization and development there has come as a result of reforms and strenuous efforts to streamline administration and government services. The district is subject to China’s internationalization and facilitation strategy or “national rejuvenation” as Xi Jinping puts it. China’s economic miracles and internationalism can be well attributed to its ‘opening up’ forty years ago when the Communist country had too much problems to deal with. But, distinctive reforms, robust economic policies and resolute fight against administrative corruption did the trick. Over these years, nearly a billion people have been lifted out of poverty and economy has grown in hitherto unheard of scale. Moreover, urbanization and industrialization happened here too fast. In the recent decade, China has opened several free trade zones in key areas including Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangdong-Macau-Hong Kong great bay area and regions along the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers delta. Still, there are plans for more similar projects. China now has way more than it bargained for. It’s trajectory to economic development and innovation has been exemplary, especially for developing countries.