Pandas play in snow at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo/China News Service)
Companies solicited worldwide to submit plans for development
Chengdu, Sichuan province, home to nearly 200 captive pandas at its Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, plans to expand its brand as the world's panda capital, aiming to attract 10 million Chinese and foreign visitors a year.
According to the Chengdu government, the expansion will involve development in three parts of the city. With a total area of about 69 square kilometers, it will include Beihu in the north, covering about 35 sq km; Dujiangyan in the west, covering about 23 sq km; and the Longquan Mountains in the east, covering about 11 sq km.
Beihu, which is near the Chengdu Research Base, will focus on research and the breeding of endangered animal species, including pandas.
Dujiangyan - where a base already exists to train captive pandas to survive in the wild - will focus on the reintroduction of captive pandas into their natural habitat.
The Longquan Mountains, which produce fruit for people in Chengdu, will also showcase bamboo and the development of bamboo products, according to the Chengdu city government.
The concept of creating a panda capital brand was first raised five years ago, with serious consideration starting about three years ago, according to Li Jie, an information officer at the Chengdu breeding base.
In June, Chengdu invited design organizations and companies worldwide to apply for the right to design the panda capital. By the June 24 deadline for submissions, 99 organizations and companies had applied, according to the Chengdu Forestry and Garden Management Bureau.
Twelve organizations and companies were chosen as finalists and were invited to visit the three designated parts of the panda capital last week so they could better prepare their plans.
The finalists will submit their plans in late September, and an evaluation committee from the Chengdu municipal government will choose, according to the bureau.
No decision has been made on when construction will start, but Li expressed confidence that the Beihu and Dujiangyan segments would be under the administration of her base.