Discovering Wuzhou: a city with history and prospects
A group of expats paid a visit to Wuzhou in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region from Oct 25 to 27 and learned more about the past and future of this beautiful city.
For a newcomer who is interested in the history of Wuzhou, the ancient town of Qilou is a must-visit destination.
Originally built in Southeast Asian countries by British people, Qilou, also known as a traditional arcade-house, was introduced to Wuzhou after the city became a commercial port in 1879.
Designed for both commercial and residential purposes, most of the houses have three or four stories. The part above the second floor, usually with a protruding structure, extends to the streets.
The arcades are linked together and form a shaded corridor along the street, protecting passersby from the sun and rain.
With a mix of Chinese and Western styles of architecture, the well-preserved Qilou streets have witnessed Wuzhou's boom as a business hub.
Walking along the streets of Qilou, the foreign visitors gained a better understanding of Lingnan culture.
Kosima Weber Liu, a German scholar, is impressed with the sculptures on a Qilou street. [Photo by Li Xijing/chinadaily.com.cn]
While keeping its history alive, Wuzhou also sets out a path for future.
Looking out over a panorama on the viewing platform of the Xijiang River Ship Lock Operation Center, the foreign visitors soaked in the gorgeous scenery. Beyond the landscape, they also saw how the city is going all-out to put its development on a faster track.
Situated on the main stream of the Xijiang River, the Changzhou hydro-junction, with a world-leading designed lock throughput capacity, functions as a booster for water transport between Guangxi and Guangdong province.
In 2020, the hydro-junction recorded a throughput of over 150 million tons. Passing through the locks, cargo ships downstream can directly reach the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).
The Changzhou hydro-junction greatly increases the cargo throughput on the Xijiang River. [Photo by Li Xijing/chinadaily.com.cn]
Tapping its geographical advantages, Wuzhou has been furthering efforts to participate in the rapid growth of China's eastern regions.
Apart from improvements in shipping infrastructure, the city is also striving to upgrade its industrial structure and optimize its business environment.
The Guangdong-Guangxi Interprovincial Pilot Cooperation Special Zone, located at the junction of Wuzhou and Guangdong's Zhaoqing, has been planned as a platform for industrial transfer since its construction in 2014.
Its major industries, including electronic information, new energy and high-end equipment manufacturing, have brought growing economic vitality to Wuzhou.
By the end of June 2021, the zone's Guangxi area has seen 515 registered enterprises, 85 percent of which are from the GBA.
With more growth engines taking shape, Wuzhou is embracing new opportunities.