HEBEI PROVINCE IS getting serious about curbing air pollution with its recently announced plans to invest over US$6 million (Rmb 20 million) in foreign technical expertise in 2014, in addition to taking a series of measures aimed at cutting polluting industries. Hebei experienced over 200 days with an air quality index worse than the national standard for good air in 2013.
Since Hebei province effectively surrounds the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, any effective air pollution control measures taken in Hebei will benefit the capital and Tianjin as well. Better air quality will also support Hebei's likely bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
All 11 of the province's main cities aim to contract 200 foreign experts from the US, UK, Germany and other developed countries to assist with 50 air pollution control projects over the next four years. The plan was announced at a provincial conference on talent in Shijiazhuang in March. The first functional 5,000-square-metre facility in the zone is due to open this week (early April 2013) to provide support services for prospective companies and specialists. Another 20,000 square metres will be ready in 3Q 2014.
Hebei is offering signing-on bonuses of up to Rmb 300,000 to attract technical experts with the right qualifications with further bonuses of up to Rmb 5 million up for grabs based on the results of their work.