Beijing to shut 1,000 manufacturing firms by 2020 to combat smog, boost income in nearby regions

A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walking towards an office building during a smog in Beijing's central business district.
A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walking towards an office building during a smog in Beijing's central business district. PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China's capital Beijing will shut around 1,000 manufacturing firms by 2020 as part of a programme aimed at curbing smog and boosting income in neighbouring regions, state media said on Monday (July 30).

Beijing will focus on dynamic, high-tech industries and withdraw from ordinary manufacturing, the Communist Party paper People's Daily reported, citing a recent policy document published by the Beijing municipal government.

The city has already rejected registration applications from 19,500 firms, and shut down or relocated 2,465 ordinary manufacturers, the paper said.

China launched a plan to improve coordination in the smog-prone Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in 2014 amid concerns that competition between the three jurisdictions was wasting resources and creating overcapacity and pollution.

It plans to strip Beijing of manufacturing and heavy industry, as well as relocating universities and some government departments into Hebei's new economic zone of Xiongan.

The government also wants to create an integrated transport network and unify standards in areas such as welfare and education to make Hebei, known for its heavy industry, more attractive for investors.

An official with Hebei province earlier this year said the plan has helped drive average incomes in Hebei up 41 per cent since 2013, although they are still only half the level in Beijing.