China to develop city clusters along middle reaches of Yangtze

China on Sunday unveiled a plan to develop city clusters along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in a move to create a new economic growth engine and promote new urbanization.

They will mainly consist of urban clusters around Wuhan in Hubei Province, the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan city group in Hunan Province and clusters around Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, said the State Council, China’s cabinet.

The clusters cover a total area of 317,000 square kilometers and are a pillar of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. They will also be key areas to implement the “Rise of central China” strategy, deepen reform and opening-up and promote a new type of urbanization, the State Council said in a statement on the government website.

Priority will be given to coordinated development between urban and rural areas and connectivity of infrastructure, such as construction of important transportation, water conservation and energy projects, noted the statement.

China put forward its “Rise of central China” strategy in 2004 amid efforts to achieve more balanced development. China last year began creating an economic belt along the Yangtze to promote better coordination in industrial development and more efficient allocation of resources among provincial regions traversed by the Yangtze, China’s longest river.

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