Chongqing -On April 29th, the “Along China’s Expressways” reporting team from CGTN came to Xinli Town of Zhongxian County, Chongqing. Reporters from iChongqing also had a chance to go with them and witness how the fast-growing and huge expressway network in China has boosted the local economy and improve native’s life quality and well-being.
It took us around one hour and a half to drive from the downtown of Chongqing along the Huyu Expressway to Xinli Town. Touring the town, we were impressed by its idyllic surroundings and well-preserved ecology environment. It’s hard to imagine the place once was a poverty-stricken area with poor infrastructure. Local people told us before Huyu Expressway was built, it usually took them 9 hours to travel from the town to the downtown of Chongqing, and 2 hours to the center of Zhongxian County. Back then, inconvenient transportation and backward infrastructure impeded industry and economic development, and many young people left their hometown and worked in developed areas like coastal cities to get high salaries.
47-year-old Xu Zongquan who we met during our visit was one of those young people who left home to pursue a better life in the coastal city at that time. He told us after seeing Huyu Expressway reaching his hometown and big changes happening here, he chose to settle down in his hometown in 2012. In 2013, he founded Chongqing Baorui Ecological Agriculture Development Limited Company that engages in growing bean and oranges and processing industry. Those products will be supplied to schools and markets. In 2014, he contracted cultivated land and then set up an agricultural cooperative. Now the area of his contracted cultivated land has been expanded from 120 mu in one village at the beginning to over 1700 mu in four villages. His growing business also benefits other local households through land renting and hiring labor forces. Standing by the rice paddy, he proudly said that it was not an ordinary rice paddy but a colorful rice paddy. According to his introduction, it will take on different colors and form vivid patterns in Autumn, and by then the town will appeal to flocks of tourists.
Xu Zongquan is not the only one who returns home, becomes successful, and makes contributions. There are many other returning locals like him in the town according to Chen Hongsong, the town mayor. For instance, there were 235 natives coming back to the town and setting up businesses last year. 199 of them run agritainment now, and the others have founded companies.
Mr. Chen said thanks to Huyu Expressway, industries in Xinli Town have been accelerated. The town is one part of the only rural complex at the national level in Chongqing as well as the demonstration area in developing the primary, secondary and tertiary industries coordinatingly. The primary industry here mainly involves citrus planting based on which citrus processing industry has been developed. For example, factories have been set up to process oranges into savory orange juice or orange-related snacks. Meanwhile, Xinli Town has also been dedicated to the research and development of the citrus industry by building a Smart Citrus Demonstration Park and bringing talents and advanced technology. Flourishing industries also largely improve local people’s livelihoods. Now per capita disposable income is over 8 times higher than that before the construction of the expressway.
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