Xiong’an – the new government-backed area slated for development some 120 km south of Beijing – is more likely to rise as a brand new city rather than a ‘bedroom community’ for the Chinese capital, according to the latest insights by JLL’s North China Research Head Steven McCord.
“Xiong’an will emerge as an entirely new city,” says McCord, in his latest blog titled A fresh slate for a new city? “The purpose of this new city is different from government-built cities such as Canberra in Australia, Brasilia in Brazil, and Putrajaya in Malaysia, so it will not become a ‘new capital’, but rather allow Beijing to strengthen its core purpose of being the national administrative centre, as its purpose is to receive Beijing’s non-capital functions.”
Described by the Chinese government as “a strategy crucial for the millennium to come”, the move to establish a relatively unknown corner of Hebei province as a new city can be considered something of a ‘tabula rasa’ and allow for speedier construction. Still, it takes time to build a city, and Xiong’an will be a multi-decade process. First of all, there must be a clear master plan, followed by the building of infrastructure, and then the amenities that will enhance quality of life, such as the schools, hospitals, and universities, which will make the place desirable. After that, office buildings can follow.
In many parts of northern China, particularly in Hebei, overreliance on heavy industries has not only caused severe environmental pollution, but also migration to Beijing, due to the slowly developing service industries in the region. Xiong’an is expected to be different, however.
“All jobs in Beijing that are unrelated to the city’s role as a national capital should eventually go to Xiong’an, says McCord. “The development of Xiong’an will create infrastructure jobs and service-sector jobs, and will also provide low to medium-grade employment opportunities.”
“Anything is possible with unlimited central government resources – and if given the best access to finance and expertise, a new city can be built.” he adds.