The city of Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, is situated in the center of China’s vast northwestern region. It is the natural gateway to all the neighboring provinces, acting as the major transportation and communication hub. In 2012, the State Council has approved the city’s New Area, thereby creating one of the nation’s key development projects.
Lanzhou New Area (LNA) offers a series of strong incentives to attract investors. Essential advantages are being provided for enterprises that set up their businesses here, e.g. strong tax incentives, a top infrastructural setting, and a cheap labor force. The underlying aim of China’s Central Government in this respect is to induce accelerated economic growth, in order to make Lanzhou the driver of regional development, serving the overall goals of the so-called Go West initiative.
The LNA offers great opportunities for companies of diverse focuses, connecting Lanzhou’s traditional standing as an industrial center with new opportunities in the service sector. It is a place for larger international and domestic players – as well as for small and medium-sized enterprises producing petrochemicals, industrial equipment, electronical products, bio-medical, processed food, and a range of other products. A modern Central Business District is being built, and there is a customs-free bonded area, aiding the export of goods to international and domestic destinations. A strategic milestone within the Silk Road Economic Belt will be trains running to Western Europe, reducing the costs for transport and increasing the economic ties between China and other countries along the track.
The strong political will to sustainably support the LNA can be seen by the efforts undertaken to create a perfected production base regardless of the costs. A „New Area“ is defined by a huge flat plain provided for the specific purpose of massive economic build-up. The location of a „New Area“ is usually relatively close to a densely settled urban agglomeration, in order to allow for synergetic interconnection between „old“ and „new“ city. At the time the LNA was founded, there were only four other New Areas which all had achieved great success (Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, and Zhoushan). But, the topography of Lanzhou was initially hampered by its sandwich-style location within a relatively narrow valley between massive loess hills.
Because flat space is scarce in the region, the LNA was founded far outside the urban area, directly around the international airport. Approximately 700 mountains had to be flattened for this purpose – probably the biggest „mountain moving“ project in history. Convincing infrastructural measures are currently under way to connect the new city with the city proper: Three expressways and a high-speed train as well as a comprehensive metro system are under construction. The airport itself is destined to become an important regional hub, being connected especially to Central and Western Asia, and it will increase in importance with respect to passenger and cargo traffic. One million people are expected to eventually settle here and serve as a well-educated and cheap workforce in the local industry and service sector.
We recommend reading this article about the investment environment in Lanzhou.