Hongqiao builds bridges to the future

2021-03-17 12:02:11

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is one of the busiest transportation hubs in the country. YIN LIQIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE National plan aims to widen Shanghai area's role A train arrives at or departs daily from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station about every 90 seconds as more than 300,000 passengers travel between the city and other areas of China. Next door to the station, a plane takes off or lands during this time at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, which caters to about 100,000 domestic and international passengers each day. The airport and station are located in the Hongqiao Comprehensive Transport Hub, which covers 26 square kilometers in the west of the city and also boasts two metro lines and several long-distance bus terminals. A national plan has been drawn up to expand the hub and, more important, the role of the Hongqiao area in the next decade. Spread over 7,000 square kilometers, the area will become a global central business district, international trade center and major transportation hub by 2035. The overall plan to build the Hongqiao International Hub for Opening-up, submitted by the National Development and Reform Commission, was approved by the State Council in February. Officials and experts see the plan as an important blueprint for enhancing the country's "dual-circulation" development paradigm, which has domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulation reinforcing each other. Li Qiang, Party chief of Shanghai, said, "The city will work with Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces to build 'Big Hongqiao' into a driver for the regional economy and a bridge between domestic and international markets. "We will raise the level of openness and functions for the area to strengthen Yangtze River Delta integration," he said on March 2 during a meeting with officials from other parts of the delta on implementing the national plan. In Chinese, Hongqiao translates as "rainbow bridge", and the term can be applied to many places in Shanghai, as the Hongqiao area has expanded in recent decades. In 1986, Shanghai established the Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone in the west of the city. Occupying just 0.65 sq km, it was the smallest of the 14 national development zones approved by the State Council. The area's convenient transportation services for the public and freight were boosted in 2009 with completion of the Hongqiao Comprehensive Transport Hub. This led to further development nearby, with an area occupying 86 sq km designated as the Hongqiao Central Business District in the same year. In the following decade, office buildings, shopping malls, hotels and exhibition centers were built in the CBD, including the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai).