Think Beyond City Walls Helps Millennium Ancient Capital Mull over the Opening Up

Court lanterns and court maids, warriors in golden helmet and armor, other figures in ancient style costumes are conducting a welcoming ceremony to receive guests from near and far in the electric light show.

This is one of the scenes of Dream of Chang’an - Grand Etiquette Ceremony of Tang Dynasty, the multimedia city wall live-action performance featuring protocol cultures of the flourishing Tang Dynasty (618-907) of China, which has become one of the cultural landmarks of Xi’an. 

As we all know, the stage plays an important role in the quality of the performance and the stage of this show is the barbican at the South Gate of Xi’an City Wall.

It is worth mentioning that the barbican which is of high historical and cultural values had been used as a parking lot before the show was staged.

From a parking lot to a stage where the city’s history and culture are presented, it is a great increase in terms of social value and economic value.


(The stage of Dream of Chang’an is the barbican at the South Gate of Xi’an City Wall.)

The Xi’an City Wall is an ancient walled structure that has the longest history, largest scale and is under the best preservation in the world and it was originally built in AD 582 in the Sui Dynasty (581-618).

Yet the imposing and magnificent City Wall while preserving the historical and cultural heritages seemingly imprisoned the mentality of the Xi’an people. In the eyes of many people elsewhere, the present Xi’an is a city which relies heavily on the income generated from the admission tickets to the heritages left by the ancestors.

As an ancient capital of various dynasties, Xi’an had served as the political, economic and cultural center of the Chinese civilization for quite a long time.

Xi’an has been held back in the development by its geographical location, which is in deep inland China without convenient access to seas and borders.

Since the reform and opening up in 1978, the economic growth rate of Xi’an has been behind other cities in China and remained at the low 20th or so place in major cities of China despite the progress made in recent years.

How to build a new stage for culture and economy is always a big issue in the development of Xi’an or Shaanxi Province.

Nowadays, in the context of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, as the portal of opening up to the outside world in Northwest China and the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an, which is located in the physical center of China, has been defined as the “inland new highland of reform and opening up”.

Connecting history to future, connecting China to the world, Xi’an is now going out of the closure and reshaping the glory that it made in history.

Opening to the west

Physically Xi’an is located in the center of the Chinese territory.

The “geodetic origin” determined by China is located in Beihengliu Village at Yongle Town, Jingyang County, Shaanxi Province, only 40 kilometers away from Xi’an.

The “Beijing Time” that Chinese use in their daily life is actually and accurately called “Xi’an Time” because it is the time set by the National Timing Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences that is located in Lintong District, Xi’an.


(The “geodetic origin” located in Beihengliu Village at Yongle Town, Jingyang County, Shaanxi Province)

Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is a central hub node in the system in the form of Union Jack which is formed by the air, railway, high-speed rail, and expressway transport lines in China. 2 hours flight starting from this airport can cover 75% of the whole territory of China with an economic volume of 85% of the country.

To a city, mobilization of people and goods play a fundamental role in the economic development of the region. 

As a historical and cultural city with fame, Xi’an is never short of mobilization of people. In the long holidays of May Day 2018, the number of visitors to Xi’an stood at the 2nd place in China, generating total tourist revenue at the 3rd ranking in the country.

The annual handling capacity of passengers at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport has reached 41.86 million persons/times so far, with international visitors up to 2 million. The airport has seen numbers of passengers growing at a two-digit rate for 7 years continuously, higher than the average in the industry and at the top ranking of the top 10 airports in China. 

However, in the mobilization of goods, Xi’an has experienced huge deficits, and it seems the city and Shaanxi where the city is located do not have many goods to offer to the country and the world.


(Xi’an Xianyang International Airport in planning)

The prosperity of logistics in a region has a say in the strength of the regional economic competitiveness.

In recent years, apples and other farm produces of Shaanxi Province have not only been shipped to and sold in other parts of China but also to some 80 countries and regions in the world. The Kazakhstani grain and oil free of pollutants have also been shipped to Xi’an continuously…

But these are still much far from the goal of economic growth in Shaanxi and the mission assigned by the central government to Shaanxi Province.

To this end, Shaanxi Province has put forward the thought for development which can be summed up as the “pivotal economy, portal economy and mobile economy”.

The logistics of Xi’an not only serves for Shaanxi Province but also gathers and distributes goods from the eastern and other parts of China to convey to Western China. The industry will also collect and deliver goods from countries along the “Belt and Road Initiative” to the eastern and other parts of China.

So Xi’an will play the role of a new portal which is open to the west, distributes to the east and exerts influence to the whole country.

Ready to go

At Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park, rows of containers are about to be shipped.

In 2018, Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park has set the goal of operating 1,000 China-Europe and Central Asian trains - “Chang’an”.


(At Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park, containers are about to be shipped.)

So far, the number of operating lines of “Chang’an” has reached 8, with destinations to the five nations of Central Asia, German, Poland, Hungry, Iran (Afghanistan), Finland and Belarus, achieving the total coverage of major sources of supply in Central Asia and Europe.

As of March 25 since the beginning of this year, “Chang’an” has opened 168 trips with a total cargo weight of 179 thousand tons, a volume close to the total of last year.


(“Chang’an” of China-Europe train)

The opening of China-Europe and Central Asian trains has built the golden logistics routes that connect Central Asia and extend to hinterland of Europe, marking a new phase in the opening up of Xi’an.  

With a view to increasing the influential sphere and the collecting capacity to build an international comprehensive transport hub, efforts intensified to develop airport economy has become the key factor in breaking the bottleneck of reform and opening up in Xi’an.

Xi’an Xianyang International Airport is the only international airport in the city cluster of Central Shaanxi Region, and the important air hub in the “Belt and Road Initiative”. It is the second largest in Northern China and the eighth largest in China, and also the international hub to be built defined in the national 13th Five-Year Plan.

In 2017, the cargo and mail capacity of Xi’an Xianyang International Airport reached 260 thousand tons, an increase of 11% over last year, or a 5 percentage point higher than the national growth rate of airline cargo handling. The amount for international cargo and mail increases by over 80%, and the international express mail business increases 6 times over last year, with the transit quantity increasing by nearly 60%.

The Phase 3 of the expansion project of the Airport will be opened at the end of 2018. As planned, as of 2020, the flight numbers will reach 400 thousand carrying 55 million passengers, of whom 5.5 million are international passengers and the handling capacity of cargo and mail will exceed 450 thousand tons to raise the airport to top 40 ranking in the world. 

From a hinterland to an important connecting point in the opening up to both east and west, Xi’an has initially achieved the layout of logistics which can reach all parts of China and connect to Europe and America.

Hard and core “Hard Technology”

Recently, the final rule of the lawsuit IWNCOMM, a wireless network communications based in Xi’an against Sony Mobile Communications (China) on copyright of WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure (WAPI) was issued by Beijing High Court, which affirmed the original verdict that ordered Sony to stop the infringing and make a compensation to IWNCOMM as much as 9.1034 million yuan.

The case was called by the industry “No. 1 case of Standard Essential Patent in China”. Apart from that, the suit of IWNCOMM against Apple Inc. is going on.

As far as the industry is concerned, it is a full recognition to the quality of technology and patent of IWNCOMM. Owing to the large gap in technology sector between China and developed countries, it is not easy for a small and medium-sized enterprise like IWNCOMM to make such accomplishments.

IWNCOMM is merely one of the representatives of high-tech companies in Xi’an. According to Capitech, a Xi’an local institutional investor, of the nearly 200 enterprises it has made investment in, 40% of them have international business.

--Over the past 10 years, NovaStar has seen an average annual growth rate of 110%, becoming the No. 1 of LED display solution provider with a market share of over 90%, covering major events at home and abroad such as the Olympic Games, ceremony of China’s National Day, World Expo, military parades, FIFA World Cup, etc.

--Over the past decade, Focuslight Technologies Inc. has achieved an average annual growth rate of 33%, with products sold to many countries in Europe, North America, Israel, South Korea and Japan. It also acquired LIMO of Germany, a top company in the world in the sector of micro-optics and laser system development.

--The nuclear radiation inspection and protection technology of Shaanxi Weifeng Electronics Co., Ltd. has made its presence in overseas markets under the leadership of “Going Global” by China’s nuclear power projects, with agreements signed with some 60 countries.


(An expert is explaining “Hard Technology”)

To build the “Capital of Hard Technology” is a new goal set by Xi’an.

Hard technology is the original technology which is more central and more sophisticated than the usual high technology and which is expected to lead the core technology in future, including artificial intelligence, space technology, photoelectric chip, biotechnology, information technology, new materials, new energy and intelligent manufacturing.

As Alibaba, the e-commerce giant of China, has driven the Internet economy in east China’s Hangzhou, Xi’an has its own unique advantages in development of “Hard Technology”.

Shaanxi Province boasts the rare resources of science, technology and education, which include 1,176 scientific research institutions, 116 colleges and universities, 300 thousand college graduates each year, 64 academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, 173 top scholars in the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, 1832 experts on special government subsidy of the State Council.

Xi’an Hi-Tech Industries Development Zone stands high in the national ranking, with a total 2,200 enterprises and a work force of 180 thousand people. In 2017, Xi’an Software Park was honored with the fifth place in the software industrial bases of China Torch Program across the country, next only to Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Shanghai.

Heavily relying on State-owned enterprises for a long time, Shaanxi economy has been less active than other parts of China for a long time, but it also has accumulated rich human resources and powerful research and development capacity, which will provide solid foundations to the development of “Hard Technology” in Xi’an.


With a relative smaller scale of industry, Shaanxi has seen the automobile industry become the No. 1 industry of the equipment manufacturing industries of the province, with the annual output of finished vehicle reaching 1.33 million units.

Shaanxi has decided to make the automobile industry the new pillar industry, with the annual output volume reaching 3 million units as of 2021. 

It sounds like impossible.

Because in recent years, automobile industry has also become the mainstay of many other provinces in China, so how will Shaanxi to get the share it wants?

With the transfer of industries from Eastern to Western China, to relocate auto industry to Shaanxi is not a bad choice.

BYD Auto has formed an annual capacity of 200 thousand fuel-efficient cars, 100 thousand new energy cars and made adequate preparation for increased capacity in future. 


(The automatic workshop of BYD Auto)

So far, Shaanxi has signed agreements of new energy auto manufacturing with Geely Auto, BYD Auto and Skywell, which will be put into production in 2018.

In May 2017, the State Council approved Xi’an International Trade and Logistics Park to be the port for importing finished vehicles of automobile, with an annual release of 10,000 vehicles, which was seen as a new driving force for the development of export-oriented economy of Xi’an.

Xi’an Fast Auto Drive Co. Ltd. plays a decisive role in the auto industry of Shaanxi.

Going through the innovation and reform over the past 50 years, Fast Auto Drive, as the largest manufacturer in China and global supplier of transmission system products, has grown from an obscure factory to a leader in auto component and spare parts in China.  

Fast Auto Drive has seen its various business indexes ranked No. 1 in the gear industry for 15 years continuously, the sales volume of accelerator of heavy duty trucks stand at top place in the world for 12 years in a row, its products selected by some 150 car makers for over 1,000 models of vehicles and extensively exported to many countries such as the US, Australia, East Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, its first overseas factory of sole proprietorship has been established in Thailand, with a market share of over 70%.


(The high-end, sophisticated and advanced products from Fast Auto Drive)

In the large factory, there are few workers, all precision products are made by robots.

The BYD Xi’an Industrial Park has gathered the high-grade, sophisticated and advanced technology and full-automatic manufacturing equipment, with the workmanship level equivalent to that of joint ventures in China. 

Xi’an is now gradually becoming the important industrial base and import and export base for automobiles in China.

Answer given by SRIE

Have the moves made by Shaanxi been acknowledged? 

The answer is given by the Silk Road International Expo (SRIE) which is held in Xi’an.
Having been held for three times, SRIE has attracted some 2,000 guests from 80 countries and 600 thousand traders, visitors from China each year, with 25,000 varieties of commodities on show and some 300 media outlets from the world making reports.

The third SRIE which was held from May 11 to 15, 2018 has attracted 230 delegations of exhibitors from 73 countries and regions, with 472 projects promoted of a total investment of 1.26872 trillion yuan, of which 32 were projects of over 10 billion yuan each, 10 were over 30 billion yuan each, the number of projects increased by 23.88% over last year, with a total increase of 15.92% and the average investment of 26.88 billion yuan for a single project.

The fact shows the SRIE has become an important carrier and platform for dialogues of governments, business cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, interaction of sister cities of the countries and regions of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

Xi’an, in its stride forward in the catching up and transcending efforts, is now building a bigger stage in the “Belt and Road Initiative” and reshaping the glory of the Silk Road.

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