Workers at the production line of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co Ltd in Hefei, capital of Anhui province. [LIU QINLI / FOR CHINA DAILY]
The government of Anhui province has formally approved a plan to merge the five development parks in the Anqing New Chemical Industrial Concentration Zone into other development zones. This is a good beginning to halt the irrational expansion of industrial parks and development zones. Beijing News comments:
Statistics show that many industrial parks and development zones cover a larger area than that of the cities they are affiliated with, and many of them, particularly in the central and western regions remain ghost zones.
The existence of a large number of empty industrial parks and development zones causes a waste of land and money because they give rise to redundant construction and lead to vicious homogeneous competition among neighboring counties and cities.
Behind every industrial park or development zone there is an administrative committee composed of dozens or even hundreds of civil servants. By creating these zones, local governments hope to attract investments and projects, as they have previously proved successful in some coastal regions. They have the desire to boost local economic growth, but blind pursuit of development not only increases the local financial burden, but also brings about low-level redundant construction.
Rather than simply providing cheap land and favorable tax policies, which most of the parks and zones offer, investors put more emphasis on a supportive business environment, government efficiency, and easy access to resources and markets.
There should be an exit mechanism for industrial parks and development zones. Priority should be given to expanding and upgrading those development zones with good evaluation results, and those development zones with poor evaluation results should be shut down if they do not improve their performance within a certain period of time.
Industrial parks and development zones are supposed to be an economic engine, not a burden.