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Will Gwadar Grow to Become a Major Metropolis Like Shenzhen?

"We believe Gwadar is following in the footsteps of Shenzhen which represented a historic population rise, from a population of 30,000 in 1980 to 11 million people in 2017. Gwadar is poised to see massive population growth due to incoming industries, and we expect this to be one of the most strategic cities in South Asia." Hao-Yeh Chang,  China Pak Investments Corporation

Gwadar: The Next Shenzhen?

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traffic grew by 23% last year, according to Anna Aero publication.  A new international airport is now being built in Gwadar to handle soaring passenger and cargo traffic.

Recent Aerial View of Gwadar Hammerhead Growth

Gwadar Property Boom:

The volume of Gwadar property searches surged 14-fold on Pakistan’s largest real estate database, Zameen.com, between 2014 and 2016, up from a prior rate of a few hundred a month. “It’s like a gold rush,” said Chief Executive Zeeshan Ali Khan to an Express Tribune newspaper reporter. “Anyone who is interested in real estate, be it an investor or a developer, is eyeing Gwadar.”

Chinese private investment company China Pak Investment Corporation has recently announced it is acquiring 3.6 million square foot International Port City project in Gwadar. It plans to develop a $150 million gated community to handle the influx of 500,000 Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2022.

Proposed Gwadar International Airport

China Pak Investment Announcement:

On October 20, 2017, Pakistan's Geo TV news reported that China Pak Investment Company plans to increase its commitment to  invest $500 million in Gwadar in the first phase of a project aimed at building homes for around 500,000 incoming Chinese professionals expected in Gwadar by 2023. An earlier September 29, 2017 press release by China Pak Investment Corporation said as follows:

"The final master plan for China Pak Hills is currently being refined in Hong Kong, and will feature a range of state-of-the-art amenities including an open-air shopping boulevard; indoor shopping mall; restaurants and eateries; an international school and nursery; six community parks; indoor and outdoor sports facilities including tennis courts and a resident's gymnasium; a water desalination plant and recycling centre. China Pak Hills will also be home to the Gwadar Financial District, catering to the growing financial sector and adding much needed A Grade office space to Gwadar's growing market."

Gwadar Port Development:

Gwadar port's planned capacity when it is completed will be 300 to 400 million tons of cargo annually.  It is comparable to the capacity of all of India's ports combined annual capacity of 500 million tons of cargo today.   It is far larger than the 10-12 million tons cargo handling capacity planned for Chabahar.

To put Gwadar's scale in perspective, let's compare it with the largest US port of Long Beach which handles 80 million tons of cargo, about a quarter of what Gwadar will handle upon completion of the project. Gawadar port will be capable of handling the world's largest container ships and massive oil tankers.

Gawadar port is being built in Pakistan by the Chinese as part of the ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will eventually serve as Hong Kong West for  growing Chinese trade with the Middle East and Europe.  CPEC will also enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan to trade with Central Asia through China across China's borders with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

India's Strong Opposition: 

Pakistan suspects that India's real objective in Afghanistan and Iran is to locate its intelligence agents under the cover of Chabahar port construction workers to sabotage China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and support Baloch insurgency to destabilize Pakistan. These suspicions were strengthened when Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, operating under the fake name Husain Mubarak Patel, was arrested in Balochistan in March, 2016. Yadav confessed he was operating as an undercover RAW agent from his base in Chabahar, Iran. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no secret of his strong opposition to CPEC and his support for Baloch insurgents.

Chinese Commitment to Pakistan: 

Unlike US-Pakistan ties that have been essentially of a transactional nature, Pakistan-China relationship appears to truly strategic.  A recent book "The China Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics" by American policy analyst Andrew Small quotes a top Chinese official as saying to his American counterparts that "Pakistan is China's Israel". Earlier, in 2011, some news reports quoted Chinese officials as warning that "any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China".  Growing Chinese investment commitments in Pakistan now exceed $100 billion, a further indication of the importance China attaches to Pakistan as one of its closest allies.

Summary:

China-Pakistan ties appear to be truly strategic.  The strength of Chinese commitment to Pakistan is increasing with growing investments in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor related projects. It is now highly visible in terms of the influx of the Chinese money and citizens into Pakistan. China's actions on the ground reinforce the credibility of Chinese officials' reported quotes describing Pakistan as "China's Israel" and warnings to the United States that "any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China".

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Comment by Riaz Haq on June 8, 2019 at 10:21am

Pakistan breaks ground on Gwadar Airport project

https://www.airport-technology.com/news/gwadar-airport-project/

The proposed airport, which is being funded by China, will cover an area of 4,300 acres. It will be capable of accommodating narrow-body aircraft, as well as big aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

The airport is one of numerous projects in Gwadar being financed by the Chinese government as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

In order to finance the airport, a grant agreement between Chain and Pakistan was signed in May 2017.

“The projects in Gwadar are conducted under a framework agreement with NDRC and a MoU with MOFCOM and the Exim Bank. Unlike many of the other China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Gwadar, the New Gwadar International Airport is not financed by a loan from China but through a Chinese grant,” cpecinfo.com said in a statement.

Scheduled to become operational over the next three year, the new airport will be developed under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Once commissioned, it will become the second largest airport in Pakistan.

Pakistan believes that the new international airport, which will operate under the open skies policy, will help Gwadar to emerge as a regional economic hub.

The soil testing on the land, which started in January last year, has been completed through 300 boreholes made on various locations.

The aviation authorities have already approved the design and work plan for the airport.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 18, 2019 at 11:28am

Pakistan, China sign deal for two mega residential projects in Gwadar

https://www.geo.tv/latest/217833-pakistan-china-sign-deal-for-two-m...

ISLAMABAD: The China Pakistan Investment Corporation (CPIC) has signed a construction agreement with China’s state-owned mega construction conglomerate, BIDR to materialise Gwadar’s two mega residential and commercial projects.

The agreement was signed by CPIC Global Founding Board member Syed Zeeshaan Shah and BIDR Deputy Director and Chief Design Engineer Liu Bochun at a ceremony in Islamabad.

The agreement covers CPIC’s mega projects in Gwadar spread across 10 million square feet of prime residential and commercial real estate outfits, the International Port City and China Pak Golf Estates – the two approved projects by Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).

CPIC Global is the world’s first China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) -centric real estate developer with current under-development projects worth in excess of $500 million.

Speaking on the occasion, Shah said: “This is a momentous occasion for us. We are setting a new standard for community development in Pakistan and working with a global leader like BIDR will enable us to deliver our projects on time and on budget.”

On the current on-ground situation in Gwadar, Shah said the progress over the last 12 months in Gwadar has been phenomenal.

“The port and economic free zone are both fully operational now and 30 companies from Pakistan and China have committed to investing almost $500 million to develop their industries there. The dream of a Gwadar becoming a key economic hub of Asia is not far away now,” he added.

On the subject of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to China, Shah said that the Chinese have invested in Pakistan at a time when others snubbed it. “China and Pakistan are all-weather friends and China reiterated this by committing to help Pakistan with the balance of payment situation.”

He added, “The trip was particularly encouraging for Gwadar with both sides reiterating the significance of Gwadar as the central pillar of CPEC and agreeing to further expedite development of the port and its auxiliary projects.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 30, 2019 at 11:17am

#China firm builds $250m industrial park in #Gwadar. It's an essential component of Gwadar Port development project under #CPEC. The free zone aims to improve #trade logistics, facilitate processing trade, and promote warehousing and financial services
https://nation.com.pk/15-Jul-2019/china-firm-builds-250m-industrial...

The China Overseas Ports Holding Ltd has invested nearly US $ 250 million and built a 25-acre modern industrial park in Gwadar port free zone.

The free zone is equipped with roads, water pipes, electricity, communications, security fence and waste disposal facilities, according to a report of China.org.cn here on Sunday. More than 30 Chinese and Pakistani enterprises have moved in the free zone, with three billion yuan of direct investment.

These include hotel, bank, insurance, financial leasing, logistics, overseas warehousing, grain and oil processing, aquatic product processing, and home appliances assembly. Their yearly output value will exceed five billion yuan once they all come into operation.

Both China and Pakistan agreed to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Pakistan in May 2013 to promote energy and transportation infrastructure development, among other projects. During President Xi Jinping’s visit in April 2015, a closer bilateral cooperation was again highlighted.

A key element of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and an essential component of the Gwadar Port development project, the free zone aims to improve trade logistics, facilitate processing trade, and promote warehousing and financial services.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 29, 2019 at 9:48pm

CM Balochistan inaugurates flagship housing project in Gwadar
By Manzoor Magsi

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2043166/1-cm-balochistan-inaugurates-f...

Gwadar-3, also known as G-3, is envisioned to be a symbol of Gwadar’s emergence as a regional trade and economic powerhouse.

Set to redefine Gwadar’s skyline forever, this flagship project will be situated on top of the majestic Koh-e-Batil hill with uninhibited three-sided ocean views of the magnificent Arabian Sea.

Moreover, its strategic location at the heart of Sangar Housing, adjacent to Gwadar deep seaport, makes it the finest and most prestigious address in Gwadar, and ultimately in Pakistan.

Eiwan Developments has partnered with Balochistan Energy Department to usher in a new era of development to the city, through the launch of its prestigious development project, G-3, making it an energy-efficient development.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the prestigious project was held during the Gwadar visit of Chief Minister Jam Kamal last week. The ceremony was also attended by Chief Secretary Dr Akhtar Nazeer and Secretary Energy Department Pasand Khan Buledi and other notable dignitaries.

The chief minister planted a tree at the project site to commemorate the green beginnings of the project, which is part of the Chief Minister’s initiative of contributing to environmental preservation. Eiwan Developments also contributed 2,000 plants.

Speaking on the occasion, Jam Kamal said the project marks the beginning of a new golden chapter in the development of Gwadar and Balochistan. He said the development of this region has been a key priority for his government, and it has been working tirelessly to make it happen.

“It gives me great pleasure today, to unveil this iconic state-of-the-art development project which will not only usher in a new era of growth and prosperity for the region, but it will most definitely help redefine the urban landscape of Pakistan.

“It is a testament to the progressive vision we share for this region under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and I congratulate everyone involved in this great achievement,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Balochistan Energy Company Limited CEO Pasand Khan Buledi said this is truly Pakistan’s first-ever smart development project.

“We are extremely proud to be associated with this infrastructure marvel which shall surely become a benchmark in environmental sustainability, within the country and outside. We are deliberately working on encouraging environmentally responsible and sustainable developments in this region,” he added

Eiwan Developments CEO Muhammad Faiz Kidwai highlighted the unique attributes of the project in his presentation. “It was a challenge for us to design something which would do justice to Gwadar’s future potential and prospects as the crown jewel of CPEC.”

He said Eiwan has announced the launching of a business Incubator center in Gwadar for the benefit of the youth of Gwadar. CM appreciated the contribution of Eiwan for the locals of Gwadar.

A step towards the future of living, this state-of-the-art mixed commercial development is designed to be Pakistan’s first smart development. The development will use a host of smart technologies, including bioclimatic architecture, eco-friendly construction, alternate green energy provision, automated building management systems, waste treatment, and other environment-friendly features.

These technologies will help minimise the overall carbon footprint of the development, ensuring longer-term sustainability and providing a clean, green environment to its inhabitants and surroundings. The project is duly endorsed by Balochistan Energy Company Limited.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 3, 2019 at 10:03pm

Tax holiday brings #Pakistan #Gwadar Port at par with Duty Free #Dubai, #Singapore. After new tax exemptions, raw materials can be imported into Gwadar duty-free
Experts say Gwadar will have edge over other regional free ports due to lower #labor costs
https://www.arabnews.com/node/1548496#.XW9EEo-Z7tM.twitter

As Pakistan moves to declare its deep-sea port of Gwadar a duty-free zone along the lines of the Dubai and Singapore models, officials and shipping gurus rule out any direct competition with regional free ports, but say those setting up industries will have most to gain from the tax exemption.
For well over a decade, Pakistan’s government has dreamed of transforming the small, strategically located fishing port of Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan province into Pakistan’s Dubai, with a duty-free port and free economic zone.
“The exemption will be exactly on the paradigm of Dubai free port or Singapore,” Mahmood Moulvi, adviser to the maritime affairs ministry, told Arab News. 
Finally, on Wednesday, the government body responsible for finalizing executive economic decisions, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), approved a proposal for amendments to various laws that would provide exemptions from income tax, sales tax and custom duties to the Gwadar port for 20 years- until 2039. 
The proposal was submitted by Pakistan’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and sought changes in the country’s tax laws in line with the concession agreement between the Gwadar Port Authority and China Overseas Ports Holding Company Pakistan.
“Those who will set up industries in Gwadar will have the major advantage,” he said.
The ECC now seeks legal cover for the amendments, and has asked Pakistan’s law ministry for a legal way out.
The aim is for Gwadar – located on the Arabian Sea near Iran and the mouth of the Arabian Gulf – to become a regional commercial, industrial and shipping hub, as part of the ambitious $61 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Officials now hope that business activities in Gwadar will pick up from next year. 
“The extent of growth will be gauged when operations start,” Moulvi said, and added, “Growth momentum will pick up after the current economic slowdown, which is a global phenomena.”
As it currently stands, a one-time import of duty-free machinery is allowed into the port, but after the newly approved tax exemptions, raw material can also be imported free of tax.
“As long as they are not selling in Pakistan, it is a good idea,” Aasim Siddiqui, Chairman of the All Pakistan Shipping Association told Arab News. 
“The intention of the current government is to allow raw material free of duty...on the style of Dubai’s free port. In the Gwadar Free Zone, there will be no tax on processing,” he said.
Siddiqui, who is also a member of Pakistan’s Board of Investment, said the move would lure investment and create jobs in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) which currently suffer from low investment.
On Saturday, Pakistan and China agreed to fast-track the pace of their industrial cooperation under the CPEC by utilising Chinese experience to ensure the speedy development of SEZs in the country.
“If duty and taxes (in SEZs) are the same as everywhere else in Pakistan, then why would someone invest in the SEZs?” he said.
So far however, the Dubai-Gwadar comparison was far too premature, Siddiqui said, with Gwadar’s current infrastructure barely supportive of “a single factory.” 
But if the Pakistani port was developed as a manufacturing base, he added, Gwadar would have an important advantage over other regional free ports: cheap and available labor.
“If you want to set up manufacturing industry in Pakistan, you will have labor availability here because Pakistani labor goes to Dubai, Oman and other gulf countries” Siddiqui said.
“They (other countries) have stringent labor laws and higher costs. The manufacturing cost would be lowest in Pakistan, that is for sure,” he said. 

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