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Year in review: Top China stories of 2017
2. Xiong’an New Area
Government building of Xiong county, the most magnificent one among the three government buildings in the Xiongan New Area. Photo:
China announced on April 1 that it would establish a new economic zone in Beijing’s neighbor Hebei Province, as part of measures to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. 
Following the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area in significance, the Xiongan New Area, which consists of three counties-Xiong, Rongcheng and Anxin- is described as “a strategy crucial for a millennium to come,” and a “major historic and strategic choice made by CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core”.
About 100 km southwest of downtown Beijing, the New Area will cover around 100 square km initially and will be expanded to 200 square km in the mid-term and about 2,000 square km in the long-term.
As part of China’s efforts to cure “urban ills” like traffic congestion and air pollution in Beijing, one of the missions of the New Area is to release non-capital functions of Beijing by moving some non-essential facilities including manufacturing and logistics to nearby regions, which would also help release the capital’s population pressure. 
While the new economic area will be built into an eco-friendly smart city, environmental protection, traffic sensors, large data analysis and artificial intelligence will be its driving forces. 
Under President Xi’s call for building Xiong’an into “a demonstration area for innovative development,” several Chinese tech giants including Tencent, Baidu and e-commerce firm Alibaba have shown interest in setting up branches in the New Area. 

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