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It Is Time to Stop Competing for National Center Cities


By Xuan Xiaowei, DRC


At present, various places are competing for national center cities and this has caught the eye of the media. This round of media hype may come to an end temporarily with the issuance of relevant documents by related government departments, but the drive and desire of different localities to strive for national center cities will not vanish. Local enthusiasm for obtaining the title of “national center city” is understandable, as such a title could generate huge profits. That’s why many cities have even made it one of the key goals of the government work. In addition, some government departments are keen to grant such titles. On one hand, these departments could provide guidance for future development of relevant cities according to national planning through conferring the titles; while on the other hand, these departments could use the title to gain the initiative when they deal with local governments. However, this kind of practice is not conducive to the fostering of the sound environment for regional competition, and neither is it in line with the direction of regional policy transformation in the new era. It undermines the fair competition between regions and distorts the incentive environment for local governments. Besides, the purpose for the nation’s policy will be hard to be aligned with. Right now, the above-mentioned practice has led to fierce regional competition, serious market fragmentation and local protectionism, which have hindered the overall economic enhancement of the country. Therefore, the government needs to focus its policy on maintaining fair competition, breaking local protectionism and promoting regional cooperation in light of the requirements of the new era.