China: The Yangtze River Delta region is set for a significant leap in integration this year, with a series of ambitious projects aimed at boosting connectivity, innovation and public services.

The plans, unveiled Thursday at a high-level forum in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, include adding 660 kilometers of railway lines and installing over 70,000 new public charging piles for electric vehicles, bringing the total to 600,000.

The projects are among 10 key initiatives announced at the forum, marking the sixth year of the Yangtze River Delta’s development as a national strategy.

“Our focus is on achieving high-quality integration through technological and industrial innovation, further opening-up and strong synergy mechanisms,” said Chen Jining, Party secretary of Shanghai, emphasizing the region’s aspirations to compete with the world’s leading city clusters.

Xin Changxing, Party secretary of Jiangsu province, highlighted the accelerated construction of landmark projects aimed at fostering “new quality productive forces” within the region.

Other initiatives include establishing over 200 virtual service points for remote access to government services across 41 major cities, developing 300 new elderly care facilities, and creating an all-in-one card for visiting cultural and tourist attractions.

The plans extend to healthcare, rural development and visa-free travel for eligible foreigners transiting through the region for up to 144 hours.

“The Yangtze River Delta’s GDP surpassed 30 trillion yuan ($4.1 trillion) in 2023, accounting for roughly 24.2 percent of the nation’s total,” said Yi Lianhong, Party secretary of Zhejiang province.

Yi also noted the region’s economic momentum, fueled by its high research and development spending, which constitutes a third of the national total.

The forum witnessed further collaboration efforts, including the launch of a promotion association for Belt and Road Initiative activities, the establishment of 12 innovative consortia, and the signing of 10 major agreements in areas like rail transport, logistics, talent exchanges, finance and the digitalization of shipping and trade.



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