The Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai - Commercial Section
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ISSUE N° 6 April, 2001


1. Delta Region Changes its Administrative Map

Along with the rapid economic development, China is speeding up the process of urbanisation. In addition to the Pear River Delta, the Yangtse River Delta Region is one of the most urbanised areas in China. 

In the past few years, most of the Shanghai suburb areas - which used to be called "Counties", like Songjiang, Jiading, Baoshan, Jinshan etc., became integrated "Districts" of the city. 

Even more and greater changes have taken place in the Province Jiangsu and Zhejiang. 
After the municipal jurisdiction separating Taizhou from Yangzhou and Suqian from Huaiyin in 1996, Jiangsu is now facing for the second time the large-scaled rearrangement of the administrative area. According to the plan approved by the central government, the restructuring of the administrative system is focused on the areas of Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Yangzhou and Huaiyin. 222 central towns, identified in 1999 by the provincial government, will be reorganised so that only 120 remain, whereas the rights of the local authorities as well as the development spaces of the cities will be enlarged. 

In Zhejiang, everything seems to be restructured. Following are just some examples: 

  • Hangzhou: Xiaoshan and Yuhang have become two districts of Hangzhou Municipality from two cities at county level* . They are directly integrated into the city of Hangzhou, and the urban area of Hangzhou is enlarged from 683 square km to 3 068 square km.

  • Shaoxing: the urban area of Shaoxing City is enlarged from 101 square km to 336 square km; at the same time, the site of Shaoxing County Government moved from Shaoxing City to Keqiao Town.

  • Jinhua: the former Jinhua County became today's Jindong District of Jinhua City.

  • Lishui changed in June 2000 from a prefecture into a city already.

The number of "Zhen" (township) in the province was reduced from 1 006 in 1998 to 955 at the moment, and the number of "Xiang" in the rural area (at the same administrative level with "Zhen") reduced from 823 to 740. 

The goal of the restructuring is to remove the obstacles on the way of developing the regional economy. Before the restructuring, the regional development plans and the infrastructure projects were always restricted or even blocked, because of the interest conflict between the central cities* (like Suzhou) and the surrounding counties (like Wuxian, Wujiang and Kunshan), and between the
cities (like Wuxi) and the counties (like Xishan), whose government sites locate in the same town.

* The word "city" in China is a very confusing concept, not only for foreigner, but also for many Chinese citizen. Every city in China, just like every cadre, has a special rank. The cities are classified into four ranks: the rank on the provincial level (like Shanghai and Beijing), the rank on the quasi-provincial level (like Nanjing and Ningbo), the rank on the prefecture level (like Suzhou and Wuxi) and the rank on the county level (Kunshan and Xishan). So, it is very important to differentiate the ranks of the cities, while meeting a Chinese delegation with one or more Mayors.

2. Macro-economic Development in the First Quarter 2001

The first quarter of this year showed that the economy of the Yangtse-Delta Region is growing faster than China's average. So, the Delta region continues to play the locomotive role of China's Economy. See the table below:

Comparative Economic Development
(the first Quarter, 2001)

3. Capital from Other Provinces Poured into Shanghai

Encouraged by the prosperous prospect of Shanghai - the famous Metropolis in the Far East Asia, more and more businessmen come to the city and bring with them heavy venture capital. Among them, there are not only international businessmen, but also Chinese people from other provinces. According to a local newspaper (Xinhua Daily, March 4th, 2001), 9.6 billion RMB (ca. 1.16 billion USD, as registered capital) was poured into Shanghai last year - an increase of 165 % compared to 1999. The figure did not include 1.8 billion of smaller sharing investment in large projects in Shanghai. Among the total of 9.6 billion RMB, there were 5 big projects with a registered capital of more than 100 million RMB (ca. 12 million USD). The greater part of the investment was private.

4. Jiangsu Province: No.1 in China's Textile Industry

Jiangsu, one of the economically strongest provinces in China, holds a leading position also in China' s textile industry. The total sales of the textile industry of the province reached approximately 22% of China. According to statistics of the Customs of China, the province exported 5.36 billion USD textile and garment products (excluding silk) in 1999, which is 13.2% of the total national textile and garment exports and 29.6% of the whole export of the province. The following tables show more details. 

5. Telephone Numbers in Zhejiang will be Changed

From May 18th, 2001 on, telephone numbers in Hangzhou, Ningbo and Wenzhou will be Changed, namely from 7 digits into 8 digits. 

The method is: 

In Hangzhou: put 8 in front of the original number with the beginning of 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8;
put 6 in front of the original number with the beginning of 3 and 4.
In Ningbo: put 8 in front of the original number with the beginning of 6, 7 and 8;
put 6 in front of the original number with the beginning of 2, 3 and 5.
In Wenzhou: put 8 in front of the original number with the beginning of 2 and 8;
put 6 in front of the original number with the beginning of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.

Businessmen and tourists having relations with Zhejiang shall pay attention to this new development.


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