While it is supposed to become a motor for innovation and growth within China, some experts think Jing-Ji-Ji could also become a model of sustainable growth for the rest of the country and the world.
In 2015, the Paulson Institute released a report entitled China’s Next Opportunity: Sustainable Economic Transition. The report focuses on the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region (or Jing-Jin-Ji), making the case that this region—the seat of China’s central government, one of its fastest-growing urban areas, and one of the most important industrial zones in China—has the potential to dramatically reduce emissions and lead the way for China’s nationwide transformation toward a more sustainable economic model.
The report notes that the Jing-Jin-Ji region is well-positioned to become a model for the rest of the country, and potentially the globe, for several reasons: 1) The region’s size, diverse economic mix, and strong policy and regulatory environment contribute to its potential to transition its economy. 2) Hebei Province, currently the most industrial part of the region, has existing manufacturing infrastructure and strong wind and solar resources that could provide the basis for a significant increase in clean, renewable energy production and deployment.
“All eyes are on the Jing-Jin-Ji region as a testing ground for innovative solutions to China’s complex sustainable development challenges. By concentrating investments in renewable energy sources and upgrading the energy efficiency of industry.
The Economist had a report in late 2016 that updated the Jing-jin-ji progress.
China is making progress towards its 130 million person megacity. Jing-Jin-Ji — which stands for “Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei” — is a central plank of the country’s economic development plan over the next century. In November, the government approved $36 billion to build 700 miles of rail within three years.
Those living just outside Beijing’s city limits, who now spend five to six hours a day on their commutes, are expected to be the main beneficiaries of a new transportation system serving the megalopolis.
In the longer term, 24 intercity railways are planned for completion by 2050 — eight alone by 2020. The goal is a “one-hour commuting circle” across the area, according to the government.
The government is expected to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on transportation and infrastructure projects that would connect about 130 million people living in Beijing, the bustling port city of Tianjin and 11 other cities in Hebei province.
A crucial part of the strategy is the revitalization of Tianjin as a base for advanced manufacturing and international shipping. Beijing would remain as the nation’s capital and its political and cultural center, while Hebei province would shift to clean manufacturing and wholesale trading.
“By developing Tianjin, we can encourage a redistribution of talent,” he said. “Education and housing is cheaper by half here than in Beijing.”
It is hoped that the project will boost the movement of talent and labor and help underdeveloped areas catch up, a scenario that should benefit Hebei, which has an average income of 40 percent that of Beijing and Tianjin.
With high-speed rail links, residents of Chongli county — one of the hosts of the 2022 Winter Olympics — will be able to get to Beijing in just 50 minutes. Today, the trip takes three to four hours by car.