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City Rebranding? Wuhan Seeks to Turn Into New Centre for Chinese Space Industry

© Brian19891003; Wikimedia CommonsSkyline of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China
Skyline of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.03.2022
Since 2020 Wuhan has been known as the city where the COVID-19 pandemic formally started (even though the true place of the disease's origin remains unknown). Now, apparently, the city's authorities have decided to remove that stigma and associate the city's name with something more pleasant.
Authorities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China have announced plans to turn the city into the "valley of satellites" by encouraging the local production of space-related equipment – from satellites to spacecraft and rockets to send them into Earth's orbit. The city is ready to allocate some 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion) by 2025 to incentivise the development of the industry, a government statement said.
The incentives will include subsidies of up to 50 million yuan ($7.88 million) per space-related project, which will be given to those companies using local Wuhan products, equipment, software, and services in at least 30% of its operation. If this percentage is lower but exceeds 10%, a company will receive only 15 million yuan ($2.36 million) in funding.
The proposed Wuhan government funding is more modest than that offered by other Chinese cities developing local space industries. The city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, allocates some 300 million yuan ($47.2 million) to every local project in this field.
The incentive programme proposed by the Wuhan government is part of a bigger plan by Beijing to promote China as a space power deploying domestically produced satellites to low and high orbits for various applications – from shipment tracking to providing high-speed internet access. Beijing is building several new spaceports for rocket launches, namely in the city of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, as well as the island province of Hainan.
The attempt to turn Wuhan into the "valley of satellites" might also serve as a change of image for the city that became an informal symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic after the first cases of the disease were detected there. And while the true site of the origin of the coronavirus remains unknown, the city's name nonetheless remains associated with the virus.
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