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November 5, 2015

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Jing’an, Zhabei merge to create ‘engine’ for Shanghai’s growth

A BIGGER and better Jing’an District was created yesterday, as the former administrative region merged with its neighboring Zhabei District, the city government announced.

In a move approved by China’s State Council, the expanded district, which is the first ever to span Suzhou Creek, will be an “engine for the city’s long-term development,” said Shanghai Party Secretary Han Zheng.

The decision to merge the two districts was part of the “ongoing development of society and the economy,” he said.

In the past, “relatively small downtown administrative divisions, and the unscientific, unreasonable distribution of resources have hindered the city’s development,” he said.

Jing’an has a better financial structure but limited space for development, while Zhabei is developing quickly but “shoulders the restrictions of the past.”

Han said the two areas were ripe for a merger, and that the new administrative arrangement “fits the profile of the city’s plans for sustainable and healthy growth.”

The move will be especially beneficial for the development of areas in northern Suzhou Creek, which will in turn assist the “realization of a unified public service standard,” he said.

Prior to the amalgamation, Jing’an — which is regarded as the center of Shanghai’s “downtown” area — was the smallest of the city’s 17 district-level regions, covering an area of just over 7.6 square kilometers and with a registered population of about 248,600.

The former Zhabei, in the northern reaches of the downtown, was about four times the size of Jing’an in terms of geographical area and home to about 871,200 registered people.

Han was keen to point out that the new Jing’an District is the first to have administrative authority across Suzhou Creek, which has traditionally divided the city into two distinct “halves.”

To the south, Jing’an, Huangpu, Changning and Xuhui districts have over the years benefited from greater financial support and cultural development. To the north, there has been significantly less development and less funding, which gives those areas huge potential for growth, Han said.

The merger of Jing’an and Zhabei is the fourth major restructuring of Shanghai’s administrative areas since the turn of the century.

In 2000, Huangpu absorbed the former Nanshi District, before swallowing Luwan District 11 years later, while in 2009, the Pudong New Area swelled after consuming the former Nanhui District.

In 2005, Changxing and Hengsha islands were shifted from Baoshan District to Chongming County.


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