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China's happiest city focuses on high-quality development
China Daily
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China's happiest city focuses on high-quality development

Topping the list of the Happiest Cities in China for the 15th straight year, Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, is trying to create better lives for its residents through high-quality development.

With a history of over 4,500 years and now acting as a key hub city in Southwest China, Chengdu has a population of nearly 22 million.

The city was again voted the happiest city in China in November by an annual survey conducted by Oriental Outlook, a Shanghai-based magazine affiliated with Xinhua News Agency.

With a convenient transportation network, its people are enjoying growing high-quality lifestyles, said local resident Hou Qian, claiming "a sea change in recent years".

According to the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Chengdu Municipal Committee, in 2022, the city's GDP hit 2.08 trillion yuan ($285.2 billion), ranking seventh among cities nationwide. In the first three quarters, its GDP reached 1.61 trillion yuan, a year-on-year growth of 6.7 percent.

Its original innovation power and high-tech industries are propelling the achievements, the department said.

Ding Xiaobin, director of the Chengdu Municipal Science and Technology Bureau, said: "The city is now home to 139 national-level sci-tech innovation platforms. Its electronic information industry, with a scale exceeding 1 trillion yuan, plays a leading role."

Its tourism revenue in 2022 was 181.4 billion yuan; catering revenue hit 144.5 billion yuan; the scale of its sports sector surpassed 100 billion yuan while the output value of its music sector reached 50.3 billion yuan.

To boost consumption, Chengdu has cultivated 42 commercial zones of all types, 63 national and provincial-level shopping streets, and 32 city-level characteristic consumption spots in addition to 12 pilot 15-minute convenient living circles where daily and essential service venues like kindergartens and hospitals can be reached by foot within that timeframe.

At Chengdu Vistar Optoelectronics Co Ltd, senior engineer Yao Zhibo said, "The screens of our wearable devices, only the size of a watch, are packed with 520,000 light-emitting diode chips, which is made possible through our technology using independent innovation."

At the Chengdu branch of FAW Volkswagen, a new Jetta leaves the production line in less than a minute on average.

With the operation of Tianfu International Airport, Chengdu has become the third city in China to have two international airports.

Besides 23 consulates, 315 Fortune 500 companies and 217 corporate headquarters settling in the city, Chengdu has seen the number of China Europe Express Railway (Chengdu-Chongqing) journeys to date exceed 24,000. And the Belt and Road Initiative has made the western regions of the country a new hub of reform and opening-up, said Tang Jiqiang, CEO and chief research scientist at SWUFE Institution, a think tank.

Chengdu has 65 universities and 6.22 million talented denizens, allowing it to tap a market in western regions home to 350 million people, with links to Asian and European markets.

With an average of 20 households per service offered, the city divides households into over 130,000 "microgrids", allowing each type of governance and property service to reach them as quickly as possible, according to the publicity department.

Chengdu needs an even better living environment to support its fast expansion, said Liu Li, director of the Spatial Planning Branch at Chengdu Natural Resources Survey and Utilization Research Institute, adding that the city sticks to one blueprint indicated in the overall planning of its urban ecological zone (2020-35).

Tianfu Greenway Group, the construction unit of Chengdu Ring Ecological Zone, said the city sees a good ecological environment as its most inclusive form of welfare for people's livelihoods.

Chengdu is well known as being a leisure city, boasting local specialties such as hot pot, teashops and panda reserves, said Xie Ling, managing director of the Southwestern China region at CBRE, a United States-based commercial real estate company, adding that the enjoyable lifestyle in the city also derives in part from a safe living environment.

China DailyShen Yi

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