Xi'an Designated as the Ninth National Central City


Yesterday, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) published the Development Plan of the Guanzhong Plain Urban Agglomeration on its official website, clearly proposing the construction of Xi’an into a national central city, “the Plan clarifies the status of Xi’an as a national central city and designates Xi’an as the ninth national central city”. Jiang Jianchun, deputy director of the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, said that the national central cities are at the highest level of the national urban system and are modern metropolis of key national strategic position, reflecting the state will, shouldering the national mission, leading the regional development and participating in international cooperation and competition on behalf of the State.

He said that The Main Functional Area Planning issued by the State Council in 2010 designated Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou as the national central cities; the Chengdu-Chongqing Urban Agglomeration Development Planning, the Development Planning of Urban Agglomeration in the Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River and the Central Plains City Group Development Planning approved by the State Council designated Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Zhengzhou as the national central cities. The release of the Development Plan of the Guanzhong Plain Urban Agglomeration indicates that Xi’an officially becomes the ninth national center city of China.

“Developing Xi’an into a leading city in the northwest region of China”

Actively planning and taking initiative action to win national support

Jiang Jianchun told the reporter that the country attaches great importance to the Guanzhong Plain urban agglomeration construction. The National New-Type Urbanization Plan (2014—2020) issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council in 2014 and the Several Opinions on Further Promoting New-Type Urbanization issued by the State Council in 2016 proposed to promote new-type urbanization with urban agglomeration as the key link. With a good foundation and great potential for development, Guanzhong Plain urban agglomeration enjoys a unique strategic position in overall situation of national modernization and the pattern of all-round opening-up, the National “Thirteenth Five-Year” Plan has proposed to develop and expand Guanzhong Plain and other urban agglomerations.

“Xi’an is the only mega-city in the northwest region and is also the primate city of Guanzhong Plain urban agglomeration. The city will actively plan, take initiative action and undertake the mission”, according to Jiang Jianchun, at the end of 2016, the municipal party committee and the municipal government began to plan related work of constructing Xi’an into a national central city.

In 2017, the goal of accelerating the construction of Xi’an into a national central city was clearly proposed at the 13th Party Congress of Xi’an. In March 2017, during the national “two sessions” period, when Premier Li Keqiang attended the Shaanxi delegation’s deliberation, Wang Yongkang, secretary of provincial committee and the municipal party committee, proposed to Premier Li Keqiang that the State should included Xi’an in the national central cities to drive and lead the development of the northwest region. Premier Li Keqiang responded to provide as much support as possible to develop Xi’an into a leading city in the northwest region of China. Mayor Shangguan Ji-qing submitted the Suggestions on Supporting the Construction of Xi’an into a National Center City by means of proposing suggestions as a NPC representative, and conducted discussion exchange with the planning drafting and research group of the National Development and Reform Commission in Xi’an.

After the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development initiated the preparation of the Development Plan of the Guanzhong Plain Urban Agglomeration, the provincial and municipal leaders and development departments went to the National Development and Reform Commission to communicate related issues for more than ten times, and we provided plenty of data and research results, reported the demands in a timely manner and thus won significant support of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other ministries and commissions.

“Opportunities superposition and advantages agglomeration”

Xi’an has the condition and foundation to build itself into a national center city

“Xi’an has the condition and foundation to build itself into a national center city!” Jiang Jianchun said, in recent years, the opportunities such as western region development, “the Belt and Road”, innovative drive, opening up, regional coordination, military and civilian integration as well as pilot free trade zone have continuously aggregated in Xi’an, especially since 2017, the city has made tremendous achievements in its economic and social development, with a number of indicators hitting a new high in recent years.

Combined with the Plan, Jiang Jianchun said that the goal of building Xi’an into a national central city happens to coincide with the goal to construct “Three Centers, Two Highlands and One Hub”, that is, to build Xi’an into an important economic center, foreign exchange center, Silk Road science and innovation center, Silk Road cultural highland, inland opening-up highland and national integrated transportation hub in the western region. Moreover, Xi’an has gathered considerable advantages in these aspects.

Xi'an National Central City will have multiple axes, multiple clusters, and multiple centers. The layout of the Guanzhong Plain Urban Agglomeration is characterized by one ring, one axis and three zones. Xi'an City, Xianyang City and the Xixian New District together will form Xi'an metropolitan area.
Multiple axes: Cultural, science, and international exchange axes running from north to south through the ancient capital Xi'an.
Multiple centers: Xi'an National Central City will have the following centers: downtown city of Xi'an, which will be developed into a cultural, tourism, modern services, and commercial center, host city for headquarters of large firms, and the core impression management area of Xi'an; a modern commercial and high-tech center, consisting of Fengdong New Area (technological functions) and Fengxi New Area (commercial functions); a new ecological and modern services eastern center in the east part of the city, including Chanba ecological zone where the Eurasian Forum is held annually, Silk Road International Convention and Exhibition Center, Xi'an International Trade & Logistics Center, and Xi’an Olympic Sports Center.
Multiple clusters: Xi'an National Central City will have ten new areas (including East New Area and High-tech New Area), ten districts (including Textile City Area, Military and Civilian Integration Valley), about 50 themed towns and 50 complexes.

The positioning strategy of Xi'an National Central City can be summarized as “Three Centers, Two Highlands and One Hub”. More specifically, Xi'an City will become a historical and cultural metropolitan city that will serve as economic, international exchange, technological centers of Western China, vanguard in the implementation of cultural initiatives of the Silk Road and the inland economic opening strategy and national integrated transportation hub.
Western China’s economic center: Xi'an has become the only mega-city in the northwest region with the total economic output ranking the third in the western region. It has formed a modern industrial system featuring tourism, cultural industries, strategic emerging industries, advanced manufacturing and modern service industries. It is also a national manufacturing center for aerospace, IT and equipment manufacturing industries. Xi’an hosts a full range of modern service industries such as finance, logistics, commerce and trade and plays an increasing important role in promoting industrial development.
International exchange center:Xi'an has frequently engaged in international exchanges. It has established friendship with 31 foreign cities. There are 4 foreign consulates in Xi'an and 17 foreign visa centers. Xi'an is also the first city in the northwest to offer 72-hour visa-free stays for transit passengers from 51 countries. Furthermore, Xi'an is also the host city of the Eurasian Economic Forum, the Silk Road International Exposition and other international events.
Technological innovation center on the Silk Road:Xi'an ranks third in scientific and technological strength among Chinese cities with more than 3,000 scientific research and development institutions, 231 provincial and ministerial key laboratories, 231 engineering and technical research centers, 67 academicians of both academies and institutes, 800,000 professional technicians. The concentration of technological resources ranks first in the country. With 63 colleges and universities, 46 postgraduate training institutions, 189 secondary vocational schools, 1,200,000 students enrolled in higher education, more than 300,000 students graduating from higher education institution each year, and more than 20,000 students completing master’s and Ph.D. degree programs each year, Xi'an is one of the top ten innovative cities in China.
Vanguard in the implementation of cultural initiatives of the Silk Road. Xi'an is the cradle of Chinese civilization, a world renowned historical and cultural city and a starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Thirteen dynasties, including Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang, built their capital in this city. Six relics were selected for the World Cultural Heritage and are reputed as China's Natural History Museum. The inclusive culture of the city created favorable conditions for international cooperation. Rich historical and cultural heritage makes Xi’an a unique, easily identifiable and inclusive city. It exerts considerable international influence.
Vanguard in the implementation of the inland economic opening strategy. Xi'an has well-established platforms to support the economic opening strategy, including Xi’an Comprehensive Bonded Zone, Xi'an High-tech Comprehensive Bonded Zone, Xi'an Export Product Processing Zone and Xi'an Airport Comprehensive Bonded Logistics Center and China (Shaanxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Xi'an Port is the first inland port in China that serves both international and domestic trade as originating port and destination port. It plays a crucial role in propelling the central and western regions to participate in global economic and trade activities.
National integrated transportation hub. Located in the geographical center of China and the junction of the two central and western economic regions, Xi'an is an important strategic hub on the Silk Road, linking Asia and Europe, the East and the West, the South and the North. Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is the second largest airport in northern China. Xi'an Railway Terminal is one of the six major national railway hubs. Xi’an North Railway Station is the largest railway station in Asia (18 stations and 34 lines). A “mi (米)”-shaped high-speed rail network allowing people from Xi’an to reach capitals of surrounding provinces within one day will be built. With a “mi (米)”-shaped high-speed rail network and a highway network consisting of one ring and twelve axes, Xi'an Highway Hub is one of the six major hubs of the national highway network.

1. Improving the layout of the city. Xi'an will strive to improve the functions of Yanliang, Lintong, Xingping and other peripheral clusters, promote the convergence of Xi’an and Xianyang, adjust administrative zonation according to procedures, protect the historical and cultural relics of the ancient capital, coordinate the development of the Old City and new districts, and speed up the construction of three-dimensional traffic system in the Greater Xi'an metropolitan area.
2. Increasing industrial support. Xi'an will build industrial clusters; speed up the construction of Xi’an High-tech National Innovation Demonstration Zone, Xi'an National Economic and Technological Development Zone and other platforms; build a demonstration zone for industrial transfer and seize the opportunities created by the Belt and Road Initiative and the transfer of processing industries from the eastern region; take advantage of the market size and abundant resources in the northwest; participate in the division of labor across the country and actively promote the development of automobile, equipment manufacturing, IT, biomedicine, food processing, textile and other industries; work with other cities to create an appropriately planned industrial transfer demonstration zone with Xi’an as the core.
3. Implementing the innovation-driven development strategy. Xi'an High-tech National Innovation Demonstration Zone will play a key role in promoting innovation and drive the development of Xixian, Baoji, Xianyang, Weinan, Yangling, Tianshui and other development zones.
4. Promoting in-depth military and civilian integration. Xi'an will seize the opportunity created by the comprehensive innovation pilot program; improve the industrial layout and implement the value chain innovation initiative; make overall efforts to promote the reform of military industrial and research mechanisms, speed up the transform of military and technological advantages to innovation and industrial advantages; establish multi-level coordination mechanisms and strengthen the coordination of strategic plans, tasks and policies for the integration of military and civilians; and create a demonstration zone for the integration of military and civilian industries.
5. Supporting service industries. It will serve as an integrated service center and gateway city for the northwest, and play a strategic role in maintaining the prosperity and stability of the northwest; seize the opportunity created by the designation of Xi’an as a national central city and regional hub, build a comprehensive transportation corridor to communicate with the major economic zones in the northwest, speed up the gathering of resources such as labor, capital and technology, accelerate the development of new driving forces and create national centers for advanced manufacturing, strategic emerging industries and modern service industries, and promote the development of the northwest and surrounding areas; fully utilize medical resources in Xi’an, promote medical associations and share high-quality medical resources; and encourage medical institutions to increase exchanges and cooperation through remote diagnosis and treatment, dispatching experts, personal exchanges, training, etc.
6. Improving the transportation network. Supported by Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, Xi’an North Passenger Transport Railway Station and Xi’an International Trade & Logistics Center, Xi’an City will accelerate its efforts to become an international integrated transportation hub on the Silk Road Economic Belt with greater spillover and agglomeration effects; create a high-speed information sharing network, accelerate the establishment of Internet infrastructure directly linked to the national Internet backbone, strive to become a next-generation Internet technology demonstration city, support the construction of China-Central Asia cross-border landline cables and provide comprehensive information services for the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt; improve the functions of the national important data disaster recovery center in Xi'an and work with other cities to establish a joint data disaster recovery center.
Further Information


What is a national central city? National Central City is a concept proposed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China in the Plan of the National Urban System in 2005. The national central cities are described as a group of cities at the highest level of the national urban system in charge of leading, developing, and performing tasks in political, economic, cultural and international exchange aspects.
The national central cities serve as China’s integrated service centers, industrial clusters, logistics hubs, vanguards in the implementation of the economic opening strategy and cultural centers.

According to the NDRC’s Guiding Opinions on Supporting Wuhan in Building a National Central City, a national central city refers to a modern, strategically located metropolitan area that plays a crucial role in the implementation of national strategies, regional development and international exchange and can represent China. The planning and development of a national central city in a region with rich resources, favorable environment and a sound economic system is an important starting point for promoting nationwide new-type urbanization and an important measure to improve the regional layout of the economic opening strategy.

[Source:Xi'an Daily]