Selection of the pilot cities
The project has selected 10 pilot cities in which it will develop specific projects thematically based in one or several of EC-Links 7 sectors over the course of the project. The pilot cities were selected in early 2015 by MoHURD, EUD and a panel of experts


Changzhou is located in the south of Jiangsu Province, heartland of Yangtze River Delta. It is a cultural city with more than 3,200 years of history. Located in the north of Changzhou, Xinbei District is one of the city’s five boroughs. It covers a total area of 439 square kilometres, with three streets and six townships. The city has about 621,000 inhabitants. Xinbei District has a well-developed transportation network integrated with waterway, highway and airway. In 2013, the gross regional domestic product in Xinbei District reached 79.105 billion Yuan, a year-on-year increase of 12.0%. The general financial revenue was 19 billion Yuan, and commonality finance budget income was 8.349 billion Yuan, a year-on-year growth of 1.00%.


Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Although tourism dominates the list of Guilin’s strategic industries, generating almost 30% of its revenue, the city has also strong industrial capabilities in several other sectors, such as: equipment manufacturing, automotive, electronics and IT, pharmaceutical and medical instruments. The city’s economic development zones have been highly successful in attracting productive businesses: there are over 1,000 enterprises operating in the Guilin High and New-tech Industrial Development Zone.


Hefei, capital city of Anhui province, is located between the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River, beside the Chaohu Lake. Its strategic position makes the city a natural center of transportation. For example, there is an easy way from Hefei to the Yangtze River cross the Chaohu lake, while the completion of the new railway station, and the extension of Hefei Airport coupled with the alignment of Nanfei River for a better shipping lane have even further improved the overall transportation routes around the area. As a result, the city had experienced a dramatic spatial expansion and economic growth. 


Liuzhou is a prefecture-level city in north-central Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, in China. In recent years, Liuzhou became an important railway hub. Moreover, its new industrial development is focusing on strategic emerging industries such as new material, new energy auto, energy-saving and environmental protection, advanced equipment manufacturing, biology and pharmaceuticals.


Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of the River Luo and the Yellow River in the west of Henan province. Luoyang is an important local transportation hub and a modern industrial city with strong industrial foundation and outstanding scientific and technological strength. The city is also a major cultural center, and one of the nationally designated historical and cultural areas. Several institutions of higher education centers are located there, including the Henan University of Science and Technology.


Qingdao is a major city in the east part of the Shandong Province on China's Yellow Sea coast. With the highest GDP in its Province, it represents the economic center of Shandong. Qingdao is, at the same time, a coastal city for resort and tourism, an international port, and an important pilot zone for development of modern marine industry of China. Qingdao is striving to develop headquarters economy, R&D centers, brand economy, convention and exhibition centers, IT service industry, trading centers and multiple kinds of productive service industries to build a high-end platform for the economic development of the Shandong Province.


Weihai is a city in the eastern side of the Shandong Province, China. Weihai is a commercial port and a major fishing center with some light industries. In recent years, Weihai was able to experience a large economic development, due to the opening of specific industrial zones and scientific parks: Weihai Economic & Technological Development Zone; Weihai Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and Weihai Torch Hi-Tech Science Park.


Xixian New Area is located on the core border zone between the cities of Xi'an and Xianyang, in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. With the goal to build a modern city using a sustainable development approach and improving its agriculture system, Xixian is committed to reducing land use and improving the land’s human capacity. Indeed, Xixian wants to find a good balance between urban and rural areas, accelerate the residentialization of agricultural transfer population, deepen reforms in rural land management, develop urban agriculture and gradually narrow the gap between urban and rural areas in terms of basic public services. 


Zhuhai is a prefecture-level city on the southern coast of the Guangdong Province in China. One of China's first Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the city has always prioritized ecological development, boasting one of the best environments in China. The establishment of Zhuhai as an SEZ allowed the Chinese Central Government to have easier access to Macau and, consequently, to the global markets. Thanks to the implementation of the Special Economy Zone, the city has become a key port city, a core science and education centre, a main scenic and tourism city, and a regional hub for transportation. 


Zhuzhou is the second largest prefecture-level city in the Hunan Province, China. 

In the past, Zhuzhou economy was mostly relying on its four key industries: metallurgy, machine manufacturing, chemicals and building materials. Recently, it is transforming itself from a medium city with a traditional industrial base into a Chinese innovation hub, with multiple high-tech corporations and innovation start-ups.