Pingtan is not only an investment hotspot for Taiwan businesses, but a common homeland for people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, said Zhang Zhaomin, Party chief of Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, during an interview in Beijing on March 10.
Zhang made the comments while attending the National People's Congress, China's national legislative body, where he serves as deputy.
The closest city to Taiwan on the Chinese mainland, Pingtan has seen tremendous changes in the past five years.
Since the city became the mainland's only comprehensive pilot zone targeting Taiwan businesses, 180 billion yuan ($26 billion) of investment has flooded into Pingtan, transforming it from a remote group of islands off the coast of Fujian province to a thriving business hub.
More recently, Pingtan has placed increasing emphasis on turning itself into a common homeland for people from both the mainland and Taiwan, it this appears to be paying dividends, according to Zhang.
More than 500,000 people from Taiwan have commuted between Pingtan and Taiwan so far, and the number of Taiwan people working in Pingtan has surpassed 30,000, Zhang commented in the interview.
"Only 68 sea miles away from Taiwan, high-speed passenger ferries including Haixia and Lina shuttle between Pingtan and Taiwan every day. Pingtan has been seeing frequent non-governmental communications with Taiwan," said Zhang.
Zhang also pointed to the various kinds of subsidies Taiwan people are able to apply for from Pingtan's local government, ranging from housing allowances to startup funds.
The local government has even introduced schools and hospitals run by Taiwan people to help new arrivals from Taiwan adapt to life in Pingtan.
Zhang also pledged that Pingtan shall continue to strengthen its in-depth cooperation and communication with Taiwan in the fields of economy, culture and society, giving full play to its geographical and policy advantages with regard to Taiwan.
Zhang Zhaomin, deputy to China's National People's Congress (NPC) and Party chief of Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, gives an interview to chbcnet.com in Beijing on March 10. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]