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Surrounding Baiyangdian, a rare stretch of wetland spanning 366 square kilometers in the wilds of China’s relatively dry northern plains, will arise a new city that will shoulder the country’s hopes for future development.

Primary responsibility for planning the Xiongan New Area, a new megacity in Hebei province about 100 kilometers southwest of downtown Beijing, falls on the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD), which sits under the Ministry of Construction.

To understand the strategic importance of the plan behind setting up the Xiongan New Area, NewsChina interviewed Zhang Junkuo, Deputy Director of the Development Research Center of the State Council

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All eyes are on whether Beijing’s science and research institutions will choose to expand or even relocate to the fields and towns of the Xiongan New Area.

Xiongan New Area is set to become a regional transport center to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. But will it avoid the pitfalls of other large cities?

In the six months that have passed since the government announced the ambitious plan to establish the Xiongan New Area 100 kilometers south of Beijing, Rongcheng, one of three counties in Hebei Province neighboring Beijing that are included in the project, has already seen some major changes.