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November 25, 2020

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Suzhou’s continued rise brings it closer to Shanghai

The gross domestic product of Suzhou increased 2.4 percent in the first three quarters this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 1.7 percentage points higher than the country’s average of 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, foreign investment in Suzhou surged 20 percent and industrial production advanced by 2.5 percent in the January-October period.

The city’s 2019 GDP reached 1.92 trillion yuan (US$290 billion), the sixth highest in China, following Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Chongqing.

Foreign trade totaled 319.1 billion yuan, ranking fourth in China in 2019. Twenty six names on the Top 500 Private Firms in China list are located in Suzhou, the second highest in China. Suzhou ranked first among China’s prefecture-level cities with its comprehensive economic strength.

Suzhou’s development has greatly benefited from its proximity to Shanghai, which is about 100 kilometers away.

“The two cities will become like one in the future, furthering their integrated development,” said Xu Kunlin, Party Secretary of Suzhou and former vice mayor of Shanghai.

He said that cooperation between Shanghai and Suzhou will be closer than others in the Yangtze River Delta, which is due to be transformed into a world-class city cluster by 2030 as approved by the State Council. As one of China’s most economically active regions, the Yangtze River Delta produces about one-fourth of the country’s GDP.

To promote the combination of the two cities, the priority is to enhance transportation connectivity between them. Earlier this year, the Tonghu Railway, also called the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Railway, started operations, bringing railway services for the first time to Zhangjiagang, Changshu and Taicang: all prosperous counties of Suzhou.

The Donghang Road project, open to traffic on November 11, has cut the travel time between Shanghai’s Qingpu District and Suzhou’s Wujiang District to five minutes, compared with 40 minutes previously.

The Metro systems of the two cities are also being interconnected. Line S1 of the Suzhou Metro will be linked with Line 11 of the Shanghai Metro; while Line 10 in Suzhou will connect with Line 17 in Shanghai.

The two cities are also stepping up the integration of municipal administration and public services.

The two cities signed 90 cooperation agreements at the Suzhou City Promotion Conference held in Shanghai last week. They include 19 industry cooperation deals, 11 culture, tourism and financial projects, 12 projects regarding the Yangtze River Delta Ecology and Greenery Integration Demonstration Zone, as well as projects related to science and technology, digital economy, infrastructure, public service and government cooperation.

Peng Chenlei, vice mayor of Shanghai, said: “The cooperation between Shanghai and Suzhou has been on the fast track since the Yangtze River Delta integration became a national strategy.”


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