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High-speed rail economic ripples

07-01-2011 15:46 BJT

Jinan and Tai'an: Towering expectations

Two more Shandong cities - Tai'an, famous for its mountain, the Taishan and Jinan, famous for its springs - are also ready for fresh tourism and investment opportunities rolling in at high speed.

A billboard advertises the rail ambitions of Jinan. The Shandong capital
determined to exploit the new business opportunities the high-speed
trains will ferry into the city. [Photo/China Daily]

"We aim to make Tai'an into an international tourism city. The high-speed railway will definitely help us achieve our goal as the train will bring more tourists, including foreigners, from Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Suzhou," Liu Shui, the deputy head of Tai'an Tourism Bureau said.

To maximize the advantages, cities along the high-speed rail route in Shandong are joining forces in a high-speed railway tourism union comprising the cities of Qufu, Tai'an and Dezhou. This alliance will sharpen the province's competitive edge in tourism, according to Liu.

Jinan, the provincial capital, plans to invest a total of 350 billion yuan over 10 years to build a 55-square kilometer urban complex centered around the high-speed railway station.

"I believe Jinan will undergo a grand change thanks to the high-speed railway. The trains are expected to bring in a daily passenger flow of 100,000 people to Jinan," Lu Hua, director of the planning office for western Jinan said.

To accommodate the large numbers, Jinan is making sure there is easy access to bus stations, taxi stops, parking lots and coach stations.

The main concourse of the Jinan West Station is already complete. To give alighting passengers a pleasant first impression, extensive landscaping was carried out in front of the concourse.

And, not far away, a cultural center and an exhibition center are under construction. According to Lu Hua, the urban complex will house around 600,000 people when completed.

"The Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Railway elevates Jinan to the level of China's most bustling metropolises. This will have great impact over our urban development," Yin Qingzhong, deputy head of Jinan's reform and development commission, said.

And with such a rosy future on the horizon, property prices are also surging.

The going rate for a real estate project under construction one and a half kilometers away from Jinan West Station has surged to 6,400 yuan per square meter, up from 4,000 yuan in 2009.

In Shandong, the railway promises to open up more opportunities as the province welcomes the trains zipping their way along a coastal route that will level the playing ground in trade, tourism, manufacturing and property, among others.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: China Daily

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