Pingtan window for Fujian-Taiwan cooperation
Pingtan in Fujian province is a showcase for cooperation across the Taiwan Straits. President Xi Jinping was there in 2014 when he stressed its importance and expressed his hopes for it to develop into a tourist resort.
CRI's Fu Yu takes a look at how the island has developed.
Pingtan, located in eastern Fujian and sitting just across the strait from Taiwan, used to be a deserted, windy island.
Since the establishment of the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone in 2009, it has been planting trees to reduce wind damages while utilizing wind power to generate electricity.
Now it has turned into an eco-friendly island that offers a much better infrastructure and business environment.
An express office was set up shortly before Xi Jinping's inspection tour in 2014. It is aimed at reducing paperwork in governmental affairs.
Zhuo Huabin, then deputy chief of the office, says the general secretary of the CPC central committee said the time had come for Pingtan to transform itself.
"As soon as the general secretary got out of the car, he said this at the bridge – that the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone is unique in China, and we should keep exploring it. He said another two things before he left – that the chance for development wouldn't come in 100 years but in a thousand years for Pingtan, and that we had to get ourselves ready so opportunities would befall us."
Last year, the State Council approved a plan to build Pingtan into a tourism resort, making it the only place in China which incorporates an experimental zone, a free trade zone and an international tourism island.
Wu Jiehua from the management of the Pingtan Experimental Zone said President Xi Jinping once called environmental protection the "true treasures " of island's revival.
"In the past few years, at the general secretary's request, we have placed great importance on the protection of resources and the ecological environment. Based on our strength, we worked on our characteristics to make ourselves better. As long as we keep our 'true treasures,' Pingtan will go faster on its way to becoming an international tourism island."
As the mainland's closest point to Taiwan, Pingtan has also attracted Taiwan businesses with its favorable conditions.
Chen Mengbang runs a Taiwan-funded integrated circuit company in Pingtan's business park.
"On top of salary subsidies and free rent, the park also subsidies our business operations. It depends on how much taxes we pay. We will receive money when we reach a certain threshold. It helps us to settle on the mainland."
Last month, the number of registered enterprises in the park exceeded 370. About half of them are from Taiwan.
For CRI, this is Fu Yu.